Though Michigan’s medical marijuana law has now been on the books for a full calendar year, there is still much to be accomplished in terms of ensuring the process works more smoothly and the law does what it was intended to do: protect those using medical marijuana.
I continue to see patients and caregivers wrongly raided and charged with various crimes and, in turn, denied access to the medicine they are legally allowed to have. I have successfully defended many of these individuals including in Three Rivers in western Michigan and Hazel Park in metro Detroit. Charges were dismissed, begging such questions as: ‘Why were charges brought in the first place?” and “Why do we continue to put law-abiding citizens who are suffering through even more hardship?”
Moving forward, I see two primary areas for improvement and development: First, an expedited application and approval process. Patients and caregivers want to be in compliance with the law, but they may wait up to 3 months or more to get their registration card after receiving state approval. The law is clear that patients, 20 days after submitting their application, are well within their rights to use medical marijuana, even without the official card. The patient’s paperwork and cancelled check act as the registration card.
Secondly, I would like to see the creation of a patients’ Bill of Rights. It’s time to stop treating medical marijuana patients differently than other solely because of their choice of medication. Similar to the Constitutional Bill of Rights, it would outline basic fundamental rights that medical marijuana patients and caregivers deserve.
Among the focal points I would like to see covered in these rights include:
- Obtaining medication in a safe and controlled environment (Not a Burger King, McDonald’s, Subway parking lot)
- Reasonable access to medication (Patients are currently at the mercy of a caregiver’s schedule)
- Every patient should have access to the best medication that treats their medical disease or condition. No patient should be subject to arrest for procuring medicine from other registered caregivers or patients.
- Accuracy and control of medication (safe, trusted medicine)
- Respect and non-discrimination
- Confidentiality of health information, upholding HIPPA laws
Each right would give patients the ability to safely and reliably obtain and use a legally-approved medicine, the same rights afforded to those taking prescription medication.
An interesting thought along those lines. Remove the term “marijuana” and the above rights already exist for every other medication on the market today.
What would you include in a patients’ Bill of Rights? What’s important to you in your use of medical marijuana? Please help me in formulating a medical marijuana bill of rights for patients and caregivers in Michigan.