LANSING, MI (WILX/NBC) - One Lansing, MI, medical marijuana shop is using an unusual incentive to get its clients to vote: It's offering free marijuana to those who register to vote.
The owner of Your Healthy Choice Clinic says she's just doing her civic duty. But some people believe she's gone too far.
"It wasn't ever to lure patients, or try to buy their votes, not at all," said owner Shekina Pena.
For the past month and a half she and other dispensaries in the area have been running a voter registration campaign.
Pena said she's been educating patients and caregivers on the medical marijuana ordinance, and who on the city council supports it.
"We let them know how we feel, we don't tell them who to vote for," Pena said. "We definitely want to support the ones who are supporting us."
On the clinic's website is an offer for a half-gram of medical marijuana or a free medible, which is one a food product it sells, as a "thank you" for registering to vote.
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.
The tag line on their site is, "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," Swope said.
Swope said 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.
Pena said 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 4,000 to 5,000 people in Lansing that are patients or caregivers, so we need those 4,000 to 5,000 people to come forth to the polls and vote for whomever they feel is in support of what they want for access," Pena said. "It gets their attention, and like the Medical Marijuana Act says, you can't sell it, so what's wrong with giving it away?"
Swope said this is not a clear-cut issue, which his office will continue to investigate.
State Sen. Rick Jones says he believes the clinic is using marijuana to influence voting and has contacted the attorney general's office to look into the issue.
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