The first Michigan Caregivers Cup kicks off today and will run through Sunday, Jan. 31, at the Ann Arbor Marriott at Eagle Crest in Ypsilanti. Though Michigan voters approved the legalization of medical marijuana by 63 percent in November 2008, residents continue to clash over the increasing prevalence of medical marijuana within the state’s communities, including this weekend’s cannabis-related event.
The centerpiece of the Caregivers Cup – a competition of sorts that would have a panel of patients sample and vote on which grower created the best medical marijuana – caused a heated battle between the organizers and local law enforcement over its legality.
Earlier this week, Anthony Freed of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Chamber of Commerce (MMCC), which is hosting the event, announced that the cannabis judging contest had been canceled. The rest of the event will carry on as planned with an itinerary that includes classes, speeches and concerts in addition to an exposition.
“The Caregivers Cup is a good thing,” says Randolph Milner, a patient who relies on medical marijuana for pain relief. “It will help bring awareness to most people [who] do not understand that medical marijuana is a very important way to help someone like myself [who] lives with everyday pain.”
Milner says he received his medical marijuana card to treat pain he experiences on a daily basis due to a medical procedure that was performed in 1988. “I have since had terrible head pain every minute of my life. Marijuana has been the only medication that helps.”
On the other side of the spectrum are Michigan residents like Charles Wright, a Detroiter who is firmly against the Caregivers Cup. “It would be different if all this was being done solely for the benefit of sick people, but that just isn’t the case.” He added, “It is my understanding that the dispensary in Ypsi is selling product at top dollar prices, which just goes to show that this little operation is all about money. Now Michigan will be known for its corrupt politicians, strip clubs and pot shops. Pathetic.”
With the medical marijuana legalization law in full effect, patients with certain medical conditions can now either grow their own marijuana in-house, or get their supply through a designated caregiver. Patients are required to apply for ID cards from the state’s health department, which essentially allows them to cultivate and smoke marijuana for medical purposes under Michigan law.
For those who do decide to attend the Caregivers Cup, the Marriott at Eagle Crest is located at 1275 S Huron St. and its phone number is (734) 487-2000. (Concerts will be held at various other venues.) The expo will be open on Saturday and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; the cost is $25 for a two-day pass and $15 for a one-day pass. A full schedule of events can be found at www.micaregiverscup.org.