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Michigan's Medical Marijuana Profit: 8 Million Dollars


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Michigan's medical marijuana profit: $8 million12:18 AM, Jun. 11, 2011 | Comments

http://www.freep.com/article/20110611/NEWS06/106110367/Michigan-s-medical-marijuana-profit-8-million BY DAWSON BELL

DETROIT FREE PRESS LANSING BUREAUMedical marijuana aimed at helping Michiganders with their pain turns out to be a helpful prescription for the state's challenged budget, as well.

In its first two years of operation, state licensing of marijuana patients and their caregivers has turned more than an $8-million profit -- generating nearly $9.7 million in revenue against $1.5 million in expenses, according to a new state report.

Marijuana fees topped $4.8 million between just Oct. 1, 2010, and March 31. And the growth continues at a rapid pace, said program manager Rae Ramsdell.

More than 100,000 Michiganders are registered to use and provide medical marijuana, Ramsdell said, far exceeding projections made after state voters overwhelmingly approved medical marijuana in 2008.

But Ramsdell said costs are growing, too. The office she supervises was initially staffed by three people and now has 17, she said.

Still, delays of four months or more in processing applications remain common.

Marijuana patient advocates contend that the licensing fees (currently set at $100 a year) were supposed to be set only high enough to run the program.

An Oakland County marijuana patient, who asked that his last name not be used for fear of being targeted by police, said the state's profit at the expense of legal marijuana users was predictable.

"They should have known this would happen," he said. "I know they're trying to keep up, but they need to get rid of the backlog."

Posted byMichael Komorn

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(Didn't know this had been posted already thanks for moving it)

 

http://www.freep.com/article/20110611/NEWS06/106110367/Michigan-s-medical-marijuana-profit-8-million

 

Medical marijuana aimed at helping Michiganders with their pain turns out to be a helpful prescription for the state's challenged budget, as well.

 

In its first two years of operation, state licensing of marijuana patients and their caregivers has turned more than an $8-million profit -- generating nearly $9.7 million in revenue against $1.5 million in expenses, according to a new state report.

 

Marijuana fees topped $4.8 million between just Oct. 1, 2010, and March 31. And the growth continues at a rapid pace, said program manager Rae Ramsdell.

 

More than 100,000 Michiganders are registered to use and provide medical marijuana, Ramsdell said, far exceeding projections made after state voters overwhelmingly approved medical marijuana in 2008.

 

But Ramsdell said costs are growing, too. The office she supervises was initially staffed by three people and now has 17, she said.

 

Still, delays of four months or more in processing applications remain common.

 

Marijuana patient advocates contend that the licensing fees (currently set at $100 a year) were supposed to be set only high enough to run the program.

 

An Oakland County marijuana patient, who asked that his last name not be used for fear of being targeted by police, said the state's profit at the expense of legal marijuana users was predictable.

 

"They should have known this would happen," he said. "I know they're trying to keep up, but they need to get rid of the backlog."

 

Contact Dawson Bell: dbell@freepress.com or 517-372-8661

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17 people can't take care of a backlog? I am going back to my original proposal. Take a 'don't strain yourself' type of government agency and give it a 'private sector' mentality. Stop paying them by the hour and pay them by the processed application. Backlog will be gone in a month if they actually have to produce results rather than just show up to work.

 

Dr. Bob

 

PS, what do you want to bet 15 of those employees are 'supervisors' and one is a union steward?

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Under this program, what would you guess is the estimated number of man hours needed to process an application for a card? I am sure there are variables, but on average, how many hours should be needed to process one application?

 

Given this number we should be able to do the math and see if 17 employees are enough. Should we estimate 12 out of the 17 employees are actually processing applications? Say, 32 hours per person per week actually processing applications....

 

12 people times 32 hours each is 384 man hours devoted to processing each week. If it takes 2 hours each, they could process 192 per week, right? If it takes only one hour they should be processing approximately 384 per week with that staff and double that to 768 if the time needed is only a half hour.

 

What is the supposed rate of incoming apps? Does this staff have a chance to keep up, let alone address the backlog?

 

I guess they can't just hire temps to get over the backlog, but that would be the approach if there weren't the confidentiality issues. Oh wait, what a stroke of luck......we have no expectation of confidentiality, right?!

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Dear Dawson Bell.

 

I read your article about the report on the MMMP for the state of Michigan.

 

The medical marihuana (yes ‘h’) act allows the state to collect only enough money to offset the costs of the program.

 

Here is the section of law:

 

333.26425 (b) Not later than 120 days after the effective date of this act, the department shall promulgate rules pursuant to the administrative procedures act of 1969, 1969 PA 306, MCL 24.201 to 24.328, that govern the manner in which it shall consider applications for and renewals of registry identification cards for qualifying patients and primary caregivers. The department's rules shall establish application and renewal fees that generate revenues sufficient to offset all expenses of implementing and administering this act. The department may establish a sliding scale of application and renewal fees based upon a qualifying patient's family income. The department may accept gifts, grants, and other donations from private sources in order to reduce the application and renewal fees.

 

Note that they are ONLY authorized to charge enough to offset all expenses.

 

The state is overcharging the sick and dying of Michigan. According to their own figures sixty percent of those applying are on disability.

 

So they are overcharging the poor also.

 

At this time every person on disability should be able to get their card FOR FREE.

 

Currently every licensed mmj patient of Michigan is due a refund for the illegal overcharge.

 

This was NOT a means for the state to generate revenue. Trying to balance the state budget by illegally overcharging was NOT what the voters had in mind.

 

Gersh Avery

member MMMA, MACC, MINORML ASA and a few more

Edited by peanutbutter
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Under this program, what would you guess is the estimated number of man hours needed to process an application for a card? I am sure there are variables, but on average, how many hours should be needed to process one application?

 

Given this number we should be able to do the math and see if 17 employees are enough. Should we estimate 12 out of the 17 employees are actually processing applications? Say, 32 hours per person per week actually processing applications....

 

12 people times 32 hours each is 384 man hours devoted to processing each week. If it takes 2 hours each, they could process 192 per week, right? If it takes only one hour they should be processing approximately 384 per week with that staff and double that to 768 if the time needed is only a half hour.

 

What is the supposed rate of incoming apps? Does this staff have a chance to keep up, let alone address the backlog?

 

I guess they can't just hire temps to get over the backlog, but that would be the approach if there weren't the confidentiality issues. Oh wait, what a stroke of luck......we have no expectation of confidentiality, right?!

 

Excellent post, well reasoned.

 

There are about 100 applications a day. Scan the form to make sure the boxes are checked, about 1 min. Check the status of the doctor on the Medical Board website, about 1 min. Confirm Medicaid/SS status for discounted rate, generously about 10 min, guess you could add another 5 min to check the dl and make sure the patient is a resident. Scan or enter form into database and issue a card (a secretarial duty) maybe another 10 min. From start to finish maybe 30 min, including breaks to pee. Over 700 applications a week given the above hours available. Assuming a backlog of 15,000 applications, we should be caught up in approximately 5 months given 100 new a week and 700 completed a week.

 

Now let's look at some facts. Of 30,000 active physicians in MI only 2,200 have actually written even one application, and 55 docs have written nearly 70% of them. How about we have a status board of those 55 docs (are any not in good status or expired?) so their recs bypass the license look up? What other efficiencies could be accomplished? Is 1000 applications a week possible with good management? How would PRIVATE INDUSTRY that is paid only on RESULTS deal with this?

 

One cold hard fact. They were 5 months behind last week, are 5 months behind this week, and will be 5 months behind next week. The ONLY logical conclusion, as they don't seem to be making any progress despite having more manpower, is that they are only completing the same number of applications as are coming in and doing nothing towards the backlog.

 

Dr. Bob

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Guest Happy Guy

Isn't it great to be working from a position of strength to be able to say we PAY OUR OWN WAY? Now that is something to win some hearts and minds with. That is, if you use it correctly. We support our state as a group. We are the true health care reformers in Michigan. What other group of patients donates to the state's economy? Use it for power, not a soap box to whine from. Just my opinion as a patient and caregiver.

Edited by Happy Guy
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Isn't it great to be working from a position of strength to be able to say we PAY OUR OWN WAY? Now that is something to win some hearts and minds with. That is, if you use it correctly. We support our state as a group. We are the true health care reformers in Michigan. What other group of patients donates to the state's economy? Use it for power, not a soap box to whine from. Just my opinion as a patient and caregiver.

 

So it's OK for the state to illegally overcharge disabled persons.

 

But it's very bad if a dispensary overcharges ..

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Guest Happy Guy

So it's OK for the state to illegally overcharge disabled persons.

 

But it's very bad if a dispensary overcharges ..

Twisting and entangling the issues again? Not helping.

 

The situation is what it is. Use it for our advantage. The state is broke. Health care costs are spiraling out of control. We are supporting ourselves, and at the same time reducing our dependence on the health care system that is so expensive because of prescription drug addiction. We should appeal to all the factions with that logic. We are one solution to the health care problem. Never thought that would be our saving grace did you? :thumbsu:

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The situation is what it is. Use it for our advantage. The state is broke. Health care costs are spiraling out of control. We are supporting ourselves, and at the same time reducing our dependence on the health care system that is so expensive because of prescription drug addiction. We should appeal to all the factions with that logic. We are one solution to the health care problem. Never thought that would be our saving grace did you? :thumbsu:

 

Best post that I have read on here all week. :thumbsu:

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Isn't it great to be working from a position of strength to be able to say we PAY OUR OWN WAY? Now that is something to win some hearts and minds with. That is, if you use it correctly. We support our state as a group. We are the true health care reformers in Michigan. What other group of patients donates to the state's economy? Use it for power, not a soap box to whine from. Just my opinion as a patient and caregiver.

 

Thank You. All this fuss over the deficit and health care reform and these idiot politicians couldn't figure anything out. Good thing they have us around.

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Yes .. they are underfunding the program. If they are not going to provide what we pay for and what the law requires, then return the excess to the patients.

 

If Michigan wants to keep the money, then start giving us what we are paying for.

 

I don't feel happy about patients and caregivers being ripped off by the state. But it seems that many are happy about it. "we're helping the state by letting ourselves get illegally robbed by the state!!"

Edited by peanutbutter
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PB, i don't think happy guy is trying to be a shill for the state, man. he is saying 'we don't need them to paternalize us. we can take care of ourselves, alleviate health care costs, as well as not be a financial burden to the state.

 

it IS this line of arguing we NEED to make. we live in a highly capitalist society. it understands the bottom line more than anything else. states, schools, corporations, families, and churches make decisions based on money ALL THE TIME. let us appeal to THAT. we generate income, remove burden from state and insurance companies, AND remain productive citizens through use of cannabis. what more do you want from us? we can then stand up to the police, courts, and rogue judges that want to waste the people's money pursuing legal patients and growers. Yes, they should totally legalize cannabis. but the above argument is how i see us winning this war.

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PB, i don't think happy guy is trying to be a shill for the state, man. he is saying 'we don't need them to paternalize us. we can take care of ourselves, alleviate health care costs, as well as not be a financial burden to the state.

 

it IS this line of arguing we NEED to make. we live in a highly capitalist society. it understands the bottom line more than anything else. states, schools, corporations, families, and churches make decisions based on money ALL THE TIME. let us appeal to THAT. we generate income, remove burden from state and insurance companies, AND remain productive citizens through use of cannabis. what more do you want from us? we can then stand up to the police, courts, and rogue judges that want to waste the people's money pursuing legal patients and growers. Yes, they should totally legalize cannabis. but the above argument is how i see us winning this war.

 

They are taking more money from us than they are allowed to by law.

 

What are we getting in return for that?

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Guest Happy Guy

Any time we encounter any political figure, whether in person, or letter writing, it would be good to mention it in a tactful way. We can show it off to the public like a badge of civic pride in how we help schools stay open. You can get creative with it and be positive. Yelling to get it back will not win any hearts or minds. It's a complicated process to even get our fees to stay in the program. The DNR did it a while back but it took a lot of work like a petition drive, a ballot, and a lot of money. It takes more than saying we deserve to get it back. So make the best of it.

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They are taking more money from us than they are allowed to by law.

 

What are we getting in return for that?

 

Michigan State prison population is down 6-8% since 2008. Besides the cost savings to the State, this has to be a slightly better quality of life ? At least for the few of us, that are now on the right ?, good?, same?, side of the law NOT IN JAIL !

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PB, i wasn't arguing with you about it. it just sounded like you were hopping on Happy a lil harder than was warranted.

 

yeah, sorry, PB. i didn't know the whole context.

 

You shot off your mouth and falsely accused a patient and caregiver of a crime.

 

You took a stand to support what this abusive judge did.

 

There are others that were there.

 

I'll look for the briefs. If I find them, I'll post a link.

 

Find them or not doesn't change what you just did.

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Guest Happy Guy

Dragging hate around from one thread to another isn't doing our movement any good...especially when the hateful talk is based on a total fabrication. Grandstanding makes me puke. I'm really tired of the grandstanding based on lies of omission and manufacture. It stands in the way of our progress.

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