Marijuana Incentive For Voter Registration

By: Meaghan M. Norman Email
By: Meaghan M. Norman Email

Register to vote and you could get free pot. One medical marijuana shop in Lansing is using that incentive to entice its clients. The clinic claims it's just doing its civic duty, but is it going too far?

It's advertised on their Web site as plain as day ---- register to vote and you can get free medical marijuana.

"It wasn't ever to lure patients or try to buy their votes -- no, not at all," said Shekina Pena, the owner of "Your Healthy Choice Clinic" on Michigan Avenue in Lansing. For the past month and a half she and other dispensaries in the area have been running a voter registration campaign. She says she's been educating patients and caregivers on the medical marijuana ordinance and who on city council supports it.

"We let them know how we feel, we don't tell them who to vote for," said Pena. "We definitely want to support the ones who are supporting us."

On the Site, the clinic offers half a gram or a free medible, which is one of their food products, as a thank you for registering. Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope says the clinic is treading on a very fine line because the giveaway seems to be too closely tied to which candidates the clinic supports. Their tag line on the site, "Vote for us and we'll vote for you."

"There are very clear prohibitions in the law about giving someone any type of consideration for voting or voting a certain way or you can't give someone an enticement for not voting," said Swope.

Swope says if the clinic gave people pot and explicitly told them who to vote for or who not to vote for then, without question, they'd be breaking the law. But Pena says that's not what the clinic is doing.

"We really got to fight to get the voters out there because the polls are showing there's 4-5,000 people in Lansing that are patients or caregivers so we need those 4-5,000 people to come forth to the polls and vote for whomever they feel is in support of what they want for access."

And she adds, "it gets their attention and like the Medical Marijuana Acts says, you can't sell it so what's wrong with giving it away?"

Swope says this is not a clear cut issue, which his office will continue to investigate.

Senator Rick Jones says he believes the clinic is using marijuana to influence voting. So he has contacted the attorney general's office to look into the issue.


You must be logged in to post comments.

Username:
Password (case sensitive):
Remember Me:

Read Comments

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Deb Location: SC on Jul 30, 2011 at 08:22 PM
    None of these people have ever smoked pot- it is safe - it is not addicting- it does help chronic pain and illnesses.. I am 55 and have brain cramps anyway - pot is not going to make a difference... liquor is legal, I bet most of you suck that up and it is addicting and I bet you drink and drive- could kill someone... the prescription drugs are so dangerous and addicting , but thats ok ?? right ?? get a grip stop being so ignorant !!!!!!!!!
  • by Anonymous on Jul 29, 2011 at 10:51 AM
    This is just a bit to sick to be real. I also think they will forget to vote.
    • reply
      by Deb on Jul 30, 2011 at 08:23 PM in reply to
      you would probably go drunk... right???
  • by Anonymous on Jul 28, 2011 at 04:55 AM
    They will probably forget to vote anyways.
    • reply
      by Deb on Jul 30, 2011 at 08:24 PM in reply to
      we don't want your vote- you are most likely a republican..LOL
  • by Anonymous on Jul 28, 2011 at 04:52 AM
    Area non-profits have been giving things away for years to get under registered populations to vote. Local churches and causes regularly tell their followers which candidates support their interests I'm not seeing the big deal with one more group supporting their interest at the polls.
  • by Dan Location: Lansing! on Jul 28, 2011 at 04:47 AM
    I guess the big question is how many times can i vote?
  • by JRHowosso Location: Owosso on Jul 28, 2011 at 04:03 AM
    Like Lobbyists don't pay the legislators for their votes, gib me a break.
  • by Wayne Location: Tuscola County on Jul 27, 2011 at 08:57 PM
    While I see nothing wrong with giving something for producing a voter registration card, and the first amendment protects political debate as free speech. I would simply make the offer, recruit a pro-medical marijuana candidate, and wallpaper the walls of the business with his likeness, name, and position on access. No political discussion policy for employees. People patronizing this business will obviously get it!
  • by Anonymous on Jul 27, 2011 at 06:40 PM
    it is a vilation of the voting law. Pizza hut got in trouble with a similar deal a few years ago. Leave it ot a few pot heads not to pay attention to the laws
    • reply
      by Mr. Anonymous' friend on Jul 27, 2011 at 08:15 PM in reply to
      here now, here now, there's no need for name calling my friend. would you do the same if it involved alcohol? would you say, "leave it to a few drunks to not follow the law"?
    • reply
      by Mike Parent on Jul 28, 2011 at 06:00 AM in reply to
      No,it's not vote buying, or influencing someone not to vote, it's incentive to register. This is what the law says; " “(1) A person who violates 1 or more of the following subdivisions is guilty of a misdemeanor: (a) A person shall not, either directly or indirectly, give, lend, or promise valuable consideration, to or for any person, as an inducement to influence the manner of voting by a person relative to a candidate or ballot question, or as a reward for refraining from voting. (b) A person shall not, either before, on, or after an election, for the person’s own benefit or on behalf of any other person, receive, agree, or contract for valuable consideration for 1 or more of the following: (i) Voting or agreeing to vote, or inducing or attempting to induce another to vote, at an election. (ii) Refraining or agreeing to refrain, or inducing or attempting to induce another to refrain, from voting at an election. (iii) Doing anything prohibited by this act. (iv) Both distributing absent voter ballot applications to voters and receiving signed applications from voters for delivery to the appropriate clerk or assistant of the clerk. This subparagraph does not apply to an authorized election official.”
    • reply
      by Mike Parent on Jul 28, 2011 at 08:37 AM in reply to
      That's not accurate as the incentive is solely to register, and not to vote for a specific issue or person. Leave it to Politicians such as Sen. Jones to try and keep the deck stacked in their favor! Michigan Election law, which reads in part: “(1) A person who violates 1 or more of the following subdivisions is guilty of a misdemeanor: (a) A person shall not, either directly or indirectly, give, lend, or promise valuable consideration, to or for any person, as an inducement to influence the manner of voting by a person relative to a candidate or ballot question, or as a reward for refraining from voting. (b) A person shall not, either before, on, or after an election, for the person’s own benefit or on behalf of any other person, receive, agree, or contract for valuable consideration for 1 or more of the following: (i) Voting or agreeing to vote, or inducing or attempting to induce another to vote, at an election. (ii) Refraining or agreeing to refrain, or inducing or attempting to induce another to refrain, from voting at an election. (iii) Doing anything prohibited by this act. (iv) Both distributing absent voter ballot applications to voters and receiving signed applications from voters for delivery to the appropriate clerk or assistant of the clerk. This subparagraph does not apply to an authorized election official.” Violation of the act is a msidemeanor.
    • reply
      by Deb on Jul 30, 2011 at 08:25 PM in reply to
      Drunks and druggies do not either...
  • by Mike Parent Location: U.S. on Jul 27, 2011 at 06:04 PM
    What's the problem with giving incentive to citizens for performing a civic duty? As the man said, they're not telling the people who to vote for. BUT... it appears that the issue has got the main stream politicians a bit concerned about voter turnout! Perhaps voter turn out is just what the Dr ordered. Ron Paul, 2012 Dems and Reps, different pages from the same bad book.
    • reply
      by Mr. Anonymous' friend on Jul 27, 2011 at 08:23 PM in reply to Mike Parent
      well put, sir. the politicians are running scared - and well they should be.
WILX 500 American Road Lansing, MI 48911 517-393-0110
Copyright © 2002-2016 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 126290978 - wilx.com/a?a=126290978
Gray Television, Inc.