2018-10-21 / News

Lapeer native brings anti-marijuana documentary to PIX Theatre movie screen

810-452-2640 • jhogan @mihomepaper.com

Lapeer County Sheriff Scott McKenna addressed a PIX Theatre audience of about 50 people Wednesday evening that came to watch a documentary titled “The Chronic State” about the negative effects of legalized marijuana in Colorado. 
Photo by Jeff Hogan Lapeer County Sheriff Scott McKenna addressed a PIX Theatre audience of about 50 people Wednesday evening that came to watch a documentary titled “The Chronic State” about the negative effects of legalized marijuana in Colorado. Photo by Jeff Hogan LAPEER — Shelly Cross crew up in Lapeer, graduated in 1980 from Lapeer East High School and has lived in Colorado for the last 27 years. In 2014, Colorado was the first state in the nation to legalize the purchase and consumption of marijuana.

Wednesday night she was back home, and brought with her a documentary titled “The Chronic State” that aired before approximately 50 people at the PIX Theatre. Since Colorado’s landmark action, many states have followed suit. Today, recreational marijuana is legal in nine states and medical marijuana is legal in 29 states, including in Michigan. Lapeer County and Michigan voters will consider ballot Proposal 18-1 on Nov. 6 to legalize marijuana in the state for recreational use.

The one-hour documentary was produced by Drug Free Idaho and detailed negative outcomes of legalized marijuana in Colorado, California, Washington and Oregon. Drug Free Idaho is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization that works to create a drug-free culture.

“I don’t represent an organization. I’m from here. I love Lapeer and I wanted you to know what might happen if this passes here,” said Cross. “This is so dangerous. It will change Michigan and Lapeer, and not for the better.”

Prior to showing the documentary, free to the public, Cross invited Tina Dinnan, vice president of the Lapeer Chapter of Families Against Narcotics (FAN) to speak. A founding member of FAN, Dinnan’s son Mitch passed away from an overdose of OxyContin and alcohol in 2009. Her passion now is to raise awareness about drug use and addiction.

“I’m just a mom, but I have something to say,” said Cross. When her son was 15 or 16 she discovered that he had begun to smoke cigarettes, then began drink to alcohol and then started to smoke marijuana. After he finished high school in Lapeer, Dinnan’s son moved to Colorado. That’s where he died.

“One of my son’s favorite sayings was ‘Do something.’ If I don’t talk about it this could be your kid,” said Dinnan.

Also in attendance at Wednesday’s documentary was Lapeer County Sheriff Scott McKenna, known for his blunt language and approach to talking about issues of the day.

“I’m 100-percent against this proposal (Nov. 6 ballot proposal). I think there’s a lot of use for medical marijuana. I get that. That’s already happening, but that’s not why we’re here tonight. This is totally different.”

McKenna continued, “It shows how much you care about your community that you’re here tonight. All I ask is for you to educate yourself ... There’s too many unknowns here. If it happens in November, we’re never going back,” said the sheriff, who then cited several marijuana usage and crime statistics in Colorado following legalization there.

“We’re not going to be any different than Colorado,” said McKenna, who is one of 68 Michigan county sheriffs to date who have gone on the record to oppose legalization of recreational marijuana. The Michigan Sheriffs’ Association, Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police and the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan also oppose Proposal 18-1.

If passed, Proposal 18-1 would allow individuals 21 and older to purchase, possess and use marijuana and marijuana-infused edibles through state-licensed retailers, and would allow individuals to grow up to 12 marijuana plants for personal consumption. Like what occurred for medical marijuana in Michigan, municipal leaders would have to “opt in” to allow sales of recreational marijuana in their communities.

The City of Lapeer has allowed six medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in the city, the only community in Lapeer County to permit any medical marijuana businesses to operate in their jurisdiction. They await State of Michigan and final approval by the City before they can proceed with plans to open. These businesses, according to the Michigan Dept. of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), will get first dibs to apply to sell recreational marijuana.

Of the 1,773 cities, villages and townships in Michigan, only 103 have agreed to allow medical marijuana businesses in their communities, according to an unofficial list compiled by the state Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation.

LARA’s Medical Marijuana Licensing Board (MMLB) met Thursday (Oct. 18) and announced it will meet again Oct. 29 in Lansing to consider additional license applicants. Prior to the October meetings, LARA has granted approval for licenses for 19 provisioning centers across the state.

Cross said while the point of view of Wednesday’s documentary was in opposition to legalized marijuana she said her main objective “was to make people think. I’m not here to tell you how to vote, but I just wanted to give you more information to consider. This is a big deal.”

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