Local dispensary owner reacts to passage of marijuana bill in the House

NOW: Local dispensary owner reacts to passage of marijuana bill in the House

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NILES, Mich. --- The U.S. House passed a bill this morning which is now heading to the Senate. If passed the bill would legalize marijuana — ending all federal charges for smoking pot.

In Michigan alone, the state reported cannabis sales brought in more than a billion dollars last year.

But, more than a business boom -- the Green Stem owner believes decriminalizing weed could end the negative stigma the industry's had for years.

“They’ve literally dehumanized this thing and made people feel like they’re criminally having criminal activity. When they’re trying to get healthy medicine into them to try to you know take care of one of their ailments," said George Lynch, President and CEO of Green Stem LLC.

Lynch is the president of Green Stem Provisions, a pot shop in Niles.

Before it was his job, Lynch says he’s been using since he was 13 years old.

“I’ve been under the assumption that every cop that goes by me is gonna arrest me. There is paranoia. There is a concern that you know that’s how that’s how bad the situation has been for the last 80 something years," said Lynch.

As a consumer, and business owner in the industry, he’s followed the effort to federally legalize pot.

After seeing it fail year after year, he doesn’t have much faith this year will be any different.

“The federal government is focused on allowing the states to make their decision. That’s what they’re gonna do. That’s where it’s headed right now," said Lynch.

Even if passed, Green Stem and other dispensaries still won’t be able to make sales or transport products across state lines. But, Lynch believes it could help end negative stigmas consumers like him face.

“I feel very comfortable selling at my shop and consuming in my home and transporting within the state of Michigan because I follow the laws and I follow the rules. That’s not a problem, but you know Indiana it’s gonna still be a problem," said Lynch.

The bill now moves on to the US Senate.

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