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Holland Township Allows Patient To Patient Transfers.

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Looks like it might not be too bad on the West Coast of Michigan.



by John Tunison, The Grand Rapids Press, (Source:Grand Rapids Press)

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24 Dec 2010

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HOLLAND TOWNSHIP - Every few weeks, lung cancer survivor Lynette Houting ventures inside a nondescript business just off U.S. 31 to buy medical marijuana.


To Houting, a 59-year-old West Olive woman who had one-third of a lung removed this year and endured chemotherapy to battle lung cancer, the marijuana has been a blessing to relieve nausea and pain.


She gets the marijuana from Patient Solutions 420, one of very few known businesses in West Michigan plying in the medical marijuana trade.


The business operates with no signage, except for a small poster on the front door, and the operators want to keep a low profile.


Businesses such as Patient Solutions 420 have been cropping up across the state, but they come amid controversy over whether the 2008 medical marijuana law passed by voters sanctions their existence.


Patient Solutions 420 opened a few months ago and the operators say the service is sorely needed.


The law allows for approved caregivers to grow up to 12 plants each for medical marijuana patients, possess up to 2.5 ounces per patient and speaks to "transfers" of marijuana between patients.


While many patients serve as their own caregivers, Patient Solutions 420 Community Outreach Director Monica Bakker said it's impractical for others.


"Many patients have been failed by the current system and have ended up in poor caregiver situations or made costly, failed attempts at growing their own medicine," she said in a recent news release.


Holland Township leaders earlier this month began looking at plans for a medical marijuana ordinance that could exclude "storefront" operations such as Patient Solutions 420 and prohibit businesses from receiving compensation for medical marijuana services.


Patient Solutions 420 reportedly operates on a "patient-to-patient transfer" basis, although company officials declined to speak in detail about the operation.


A Mount Pleasant business, the Compassionate Apothecary, operates on a patient-to-patient transfer basis by getting permission from state-registered caregivers and patients to store their marijuana at its site and transfer it to other patients for a 20 percent fee on the sale price.


Thomas Lavigne, an attorney with Cannabis Council Plc who represents Patient Solutions 420 and other businesses, said the business receives just-in-time deliveries of marijuana medicine.


He contends such businesses are legal and an Isabella County judge recently ruled the Mount Pleasant shop operated within the law.


Ottawa County sheriff's Lt. Mark Bennett said his department and the West Michigan Enforcement Team, a regional state police drug agency, are aware of Patient Solutions 420. He said Ottawa County prosecutors believe patient "dispensaries" are illegal, but did not know if Patient Solutions 420 fell into that category.


"They are not to be dispensing marijuana from that storefront," he said.


Bennett said another medical marijuana operation is at the corner of 68th Avenue and Lake Michigan Drive in the Allendale area and functions as a "compassion club" where patients can see a doctor to get qualified as registered patients and get other advice.


Houting said she was allowed to see marijuana stored in jars at Patient Solutions 420 and choose the variety or strain she desired, then paid for the product.


She said that since her July 4 operation to remove a 9 centimeter tumor on her left lung, the marijuana has provided a less expensive and effective alternative to the minimum $104 per-pill medication her doctor prescribed for nausea relief. She took two pills every three weeks and did not have insurance.


A friend advised her to try medical marijuana.


"I tried it and it worked," she said.


Houting believes much of the general public is unnecessarily fearful of medical marijuana. She found Patient Solutions 420 to be well run and secure, only serving those who meet all state registration requirements.


"This is not like backroom drug deals," she said.


Wes Bennett, 36, of Fennville, is also a believer in businesses like Patient Solutions 420. A cancer surivor of eight years, he had surgery to remove most of his colon and parts of his large and small intestines.


He uses medical marijuana for chronic pain. He is looking at growing his own marijuana, but in the meantime likes the convenience of buying it at the Holland business.


"The quality of the chemistry is way above and beyond what you could get in a back alley," he said.


Bennett believes an ordinance to prohibit storefront medical marijuana operations would be a mistake. He doesn't want to have to drive to Detroit or elsewhere to get medicine. "This business is not trying to be shady. They are totally sticking to the state guidelines," he said.


In a press release, Monica Bakker at Patient Solutions 420 calls the business a medical marijuana information service that "connects registered Michigan medical marihuana patients with safe, reliable access to medicine."


She said the business has taken security precautions and relies on legal counsel for advice on operations.



MAP posted-by: Richard Lake




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Pubdate: Fri, 24 Dec 2010

Source: Grand Rapids Press (MI)

Copyright: 2010 Grand Rapids Press

Contact: pulse@grpress.com

Website: http://www.mlive.com/grand-rapids/

Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/171

Author: John Tunison, The Grand Rapids Press

Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?275 (Cannabis - Michigan



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