Medical marijuana, the Green Triangle and 4/20 Day

Medical marijuana, the Green Triangle and 4/20 Day

VIENNA TWP, MI – It’s Wednesday, April 20, but for Buddy Dalton it might as well be Independence Day. Each year Marijuana supporters celebrate April 20. "This is our international holiday," Dalton said. "It has to do with our plant that we really love. It’s like our Fourth of July." Dalton was born and raised in Clio and has owned and operated Clio Cultivation for six years. He’s organized the Genesee County 4/20 Crawl and 4/20 Celebration. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will feature vendors, sales and live bands. The crawl will include 13 other area businesses, Dalton said. The medical marijuana industry in Thetford, Richfield and Mt. Morris townships have become known as the "green triangle" because of the proliferation of these types of businesses and friendly zoning ordinances. Rick Thompson is on the board of directors for the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Michigan Legalize and editor of Compassion Chronicles, which is an online news resource for the cannabis community. Thompson doesn’t know where the name came from. "The ‘green triangle’ is a unique commerce area in Genesee County where medical marijuana businesses are located due to advantageous location and zoning," he said. "The ‘green triangle’ is just another extension of Genesee County of the pro-marijuana attitude expressed by the community and community leaders." State law allows individuals to serve as caregivers for medical marijuana patients, allowing them to possess up to 2.5 ounces of useable marijuana or 12 marijuana plants for each of their registered patients. Caregivers are allowed to have up to five registered patients. The growth of the medical marijuana industry is apparent as you travel along Dort Highway and Saginaw Road near Clio with new medical marijuana dispensaries opening and shops popping up to help people grow their own. Dalton’s business, which specializes in electrical and organic growing equipment, has experienced the growth first hand. Opening six years ago, Dalton’s business has grown from a 900 square-foot facility to a nearly 22,000 square-foot operation. "I’m nothing but dirt and light bulbs," said Dalton. "We’re pretty close to a lot of growers in the state. They can get to us pretty easy." The cannabis-friendly green triangle is getting national attention as well. High Times magazine’s has hosted its Cannabis Cup at Auto City Speedway the last two years, placing the small northern Genesee County community among the ranks of San Francisco and Denver, which held events earlier this year aiming to showcase the industry and lay the foundation for the growing cannabis community. "We chose Clio because resistance to our event was negligible and the Auto City Speedway is a great venue for us," said Dan Skye, editor of High Times. But not everyone associated with medical marijuana appreciated the "green triangle" moniker for the area. Attorney Bruce Leach specializes in marijuana law at Kirsch Leach + Associates. He disagrees with calling the area a "green triangle," saying it sends the wrong impression and makes people believe the industry is running amok here. "Genesee County has been an area of hope and compassion," Leach said. "The businesses here go out of their way to be compliant." Last month, Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton had the Clio Caregiver Connection padlocked after issuing a nuisance ordinance violation against the business after an investigation by the Flint Area Narcotics Group alleged the business was acting outside of the state’s medical marijuana act. Leyton said his interpretation is that Michigan’s medical marijuana act does not allow for dispensaries, only patient-caregiver transactions. He’s using padlocking rather than pursue criminal charges. "I’m not looking to criminalize people for low-level marijuana transactions," Leyton said. If an asset forfeiture is approved, his office gets 15 percent while police get the remainder. The money must be used for drug-related enforcement. "It’s scary. You go to work one day and your business is padlocked. It’s terrible that that happened to them," Dalton said. "If you’re speeding, do they take away your car? Why take your business?" Dominic Adams is a reporter for The Flint Journal. Contact him at dadams5@mlive.com or 810-241-8803. Follow him on Twitter , Facebook or Google+ . […]

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