That’s the question a Michigan medical marijuana dispensary in Lansing, named Your Healthy Choice Clinic, is asking. Okay, they didn’t ask that question exactly, but they are offering medical marijuana patients .5 grams of marijuana or an edible for free, in exchange for simply completing and submitting the appropriate forms for voter registration.
Senator Rick Jones (R-MI), however, isn’t feeling the good vibes. He has publicly stated his opposition towards the dispensary’s decision, citing the fact that in addition to the promotion appearing on the website of the dispensary, there was also a notice encouraging voters to support City Council candidates Harold Leeman, Derrick Quinney and A’Lynne Robinson but also to not offer support for Jody Washington or Carol Wood. It’s this seemingly “vote-swaying” tactic that Jones seems to be mainly concerned about.
“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 said citizens’ votes should not be influenced by the promise of any type of reward.
The state Attorney General has been contacted by Jones to determine if the dispensary is breaking the law by having the offer. The offer , however, is no longer present on the website. The link, which is now apparently gone, said “Protect Your Access! Vote 2011.”
Now, there is a message from Shekena Pena, who founded the Your Healthy Choice Clinic in 2009, stating that the accusations and implications of vote-swaying are “dishonest and shameless.” This is an excerpt from the beginning of the message, which I felt nicely summarized the entire thing:
“Your Healthy Choice has not and will not compensate anyone to vote nor will we compensate for voting for a particular candidate. Anyone who says or implies that we are compensating people for a vote is dishonest and shameless.
Your Healthy Choice and the Greater Lansing Medical Marijuana Association is conducting a Voter Registration Drive, just like other organizations. We need to encourage voters to get out and vote.”
Obviously, Pena is stating that they are within the law, and believe that their offer of .5 grams of medical marijuana should be treated no differently than if they were offering shirts or buttons to encourage citizens to register to vote.
What do our readers think? Is the dispensary attempting to sway, potentially illegally, the vote in their favor, by offering free marijuana to patients hoping the voter will then vote for the candidates the dispensary supports? Or is the Senator in the wrong for opposing a well-intentioned effort to get citizens to become more politically active? Do you have a different opinion? Good! Post it in the comments below, and start a discussion!
By: Marijuana News