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Senator upset at clinic's offer of free marijuana for voter registration

July 28, 2011

A Lansing-based medical marijuana clinic‘s promise to reward patients who vowed to vote with free marijuana incited outrage in state Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, on Wednesday.

According to a statement released by Jones’ office, the website of Your Healthy Choice Clinic, located at 628 E. Michigan Ave., in Lansing, said its dispensaries would offer assistance to patients in filling out and submitting their voter registration forms, and that “in appreciation, we will reward legal patients with a .5 gram free or a free medible!”

Medible is a term used for edible marijuana.

On the same webpage as the promise of this reward, Jones said viewers were encouraged to support Lansing City Council candidates Harold Leeman, Derrick Quinney and A’Lynne Robinson but not offer support for Jody Washington or Carol Wood.

Jones said citizens’ votes should not be influenced by the promise of any type of reward.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate to offer any enticement to vote for or against elected officials of any kind, whether they be local, state or federal,” he said. “I would say the same thing (about anything) — it would be inappropriate if somebody offered a beer.”

Jones contacted state Attorney General Bill Schuette to determine whether the clinic’s offer already is illegal or if legislative action needs to be taken in order to address the legality of the offer of such a reward.

“We are carefully reviewing this situation,” Schuette said in a statement. “It was not the intent of the citizens to allow for shenanigans like this. Citizens were told this was a way to help seriously ill people, yet here again is an example of the law being exploited by those with their own agenda.”

Schuette and Secretary of State Ruth Johnson have said they are looking into the situation.

As of Thursday afternoon, this offer for free marijuana no longer could be found on the clinic’s website by following the link entitled “Protect Your Access! Vote 2011,” where Jones said it previously was posted.

Your Healthy Choice Clinic did not return calls for comment Thursday.

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