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Lansing marijuana dispensary denies giving pot for votes

Medical-MarijuanaDesign_2281.jpg
Medical-MarijuanaDesign_2281.jpg

The Lansing medical marijuana clinic at the center of the pot for votes scandal has posted a strongly-worded denial on its website slamming reports that it was compensating anyone for votes.

Your Healthy Choice Clinic, located on Michigan Ave in downtown Lansing only six blocks from the Capitol, posted the note from owner Shekina Pena. In the note, Pena writes:

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.

But Pena’s statement conflicts with a now-removed post that election officials said may violate Michigan’s laws on bribery and/or inducements. On July 27, Messenger reported that Pena had posted the following to her website:

Protect Your Access! Vote 2011:

All dispensaries are doing a voter registration drive. If you sign up at Your Healthy Choice, we will assist you in filling out the registration form and will mail it out for you. We believe in power in numbers and everyone taking a stand. So in appreciation, we will reward legal patients with a .5 gram free or a free medible! I’m planning an event for the preliminary voting that will have shuttles to the polls! We have to amend our Lansing ordinance! May God bless our efforts!

The posting went on to tell readers to vote for or against various candidates in Lansing’s City Council race.

While Pena is no longer advertising the free half gram of medical pot or a free medible in exchange for registering, the new blog encourages votes for and against various candidates for city council. In the new post Pena appears to endorse the same set of candidates she was endorsing on July 27, however, one of those candidates lost Tuesday’s primary election.

In the text of her post, however, Pena says she won’t support some candidates who did make it through the primary Tuesday:

They want to kill jobs and kill access. We won’t support Carol Wood, Rory Neuner or Jody Washington. We are in a fight, we will vote for those who support us. But we’ve never compensated a single person for a vote or to vote. That’s dishonest and untrue.

Medical marijuana businesses in Lansing are upset over an ordinance passed last month which limits the number of dispensaries that can open in the city, and relegates them to specific zoning areas of the city. The ordinance also creates rules that require dispensaries to be certain distances from schools and churches.

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