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Time To Fix Medical Marijuana Law


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Time to fix medical marijuana lawAug 28, 2011 | Comments

http://www.livingstondaily.com/article/20110828/OPINION01/108280306

 

Time to fix medical marijuana lawAug 28, 2011 | Comments

Not everyone was happy when Michigan voters overwhelmingly said that marijuana should be available for those who find it helpful in dealing with pain and other debilitating symptoms arising from various medical conditions.

They should be happy now.

Thanks to a vague law, a listless Legislature, aggressive police work and a crushing appellate court ruling, it's just about impossible for a person to legally obtain the marijuana that 63 percent of the state — and Livingston County — voters said should be available to them.

In other words, if grandma's cancer-related nausea is alleviated by a small dose of marijuana, she better know how to grow it herself. And she better have a grandchild who can connect her with the local pot pusher.

The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, approved in a statewide referendum in 2008, has some wording problems. That's one reason why this newspaper did not endorse it. But, vague wording notwithstanding, the public clearly supported the intent.

That didn't sit well with some politicians, including Bill Schuette who two years later became attorney general, thanks to a Republican landslide.

It also hasn't set well with police and prosecutors. To be fair, they were in a bind. The possession, manufacture and sale of marijuana is still illegal. Without clear guidelines, they needed to enforce the law as they understand it. Some, however, seem to take this responsibility quite eagerly.

For instance, the Michigan Court of Appeals court ruled last week that no one — caregivers or so-called dispensaries — could legally sell marijuana to legitimate, card-holding medical marijuana users. A day later, two Ann Arbor medical marijuana clinics were raided by mask-wearing police officers who took some employees away in handcuffs. Police officials told AnnArbor.com that the raids were unrelated to the court ruling, but also declined to provide any details or specifics about what crime may have been committed.

Sound familiar? That's what happened south of Fowlerville this year when a similar LAWNET squad, some wearing masks, raided a dispensary that was openly providing marijuana to medical marijuana card-holders. It took months for court and police officials to reveal the justification for that raid.

Attorney General Schuette didn't try to restrain his glee. Shortly after last week's ruling, he essentially informed law enforcement officials that it was open season on medical marijuana clinics.

In a prepared statement, he called the ruling "a huge victory for public safety and Michigan communities struggling with an invasion of pot shops near their schools, homes and churches."

In an earlier guest column for this newspaper, Schuette described the horror created by the act. It seems that somewhere in the state, the holder of a medical marijuana card may have been stopped while driving under the influence of pot.

That just shows how hyped up this campaign has become. One place the act is specific is that it is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana, medical card notwithstanding. Someone who violates the law should be arrested, just like the thousands caught driving while drunk. That is done all the time without shutting down all bars, liquor stores and distributors of alcohol.

Schuette says the law was intended to help "the seriously ill." But that didn't stop police and prosecutors from successfully seeking felony charges against a Genoa Township man, a registered card-holder with rheumatoid arthritis, who was growing marijuana along with his wife, another card-holder who has breast cancer. Their crime? They didn't have a cover on the otherwise enclosed area where they grew the legally allowed amount of marijuana. Such is the "invasion" facing Livingston County.

The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act makes it legal for a person to use marijuana for medical purposes, but it pretty much provides no legal way for a person to obtain that marijuana. That's even more true now that the appeals court has spoken. The situation begs for the Legislature to take action.

But Lansing has barely lifted a finger, despite continued evidence that people want this solved in a way that will provide for the safe, effective distribution of marijuana for legitimate medical purposes.

Legislators have had time to cut funding to public schools, hack away at public employee benefits, raise taxes on retirees and cut benefits to children in poverty.

But grandma and her glaucoma? She's on her own.

Posted by:Michael Komorn

 

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I am happy to see that people are taking notice of our situation, because it is everyones problem not just that of medical marijuana patients. That sums it up pretty well, but in reality the situation is much worse. We all need to take action, write letters and submit editorials, send emails and let the public know what's realy going on. If you personaly can't take action, and can afford it, donate to an organization such as this one. Thanks for posting the article, it gives me hope to see that people are taking this issue seriously and getting the word out.

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Excellent argument. Like a typical politician our AG is framing the destruction of the of a major portion of the medical marijuana distribution network in the framework of protecting God and children. I am actually surprised he didn't work puppies, baseball and apple pie in somehow.

 

I am glad to see the mainstream media (especially one that opposed the law but notes the overwhelming approval by the voters) is picking up on this problem, caused by politicians not patients, and is starting to put pressure on our elected officials to put patients, not their own agendas, first.

 

Dr. Bob

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Excellent argument. Like a typical politician our AG is framing the destruction of the of a major portion of the medical marijuana distribution network in the framework of protecting God and children. I am actually surprised he didn't work puppies, baseball and apple pie in somehow.

 

I am glad to see the mainstream media (especially one that opposed the law but notes the overwhelming approval by the voters) is picking up on this problem, caused by politicians not patients, and is starting to put pressure on our elected officials to put patients, not their own agendas, first.

 

Dr. Bob

 

Agreed. I think we can make the case that this move by the COA and the AG's hate-on for the law puts ALL ballot initiatives at risk, not just the MMMA. It was the right wing moral zealots that wanted this ballot initiative option for Michigan voters in the first place, IIRC. Likely so they could try to ban abortion and gay marriage by a simple vote of the people. Now that the people have passed a law they don't like, they've decided ballot initiatives aren't such a great thing and have moved to gut this one, and that is a grave threat to any past and future ballot initiatives approved by the people.

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Agreed. I think we can make the case that this move by the COA and the AG's hate-on for the law puts ALL ballot initiatives at risk, not just the MMMA. It was the right wing moral zealots that wanted this ballot initiative option for Michigan voters in the first place, IIRC. Likely so they could try to ban abortion and gay marriage by a simple vote of the people. Now that the people have passed a law they don't like, they've decided ballot initiatives aren't such a great thing and have moved to gut this one, and that is a grave threat to any past and future ballot initiatives approved by the people.

 

I am personally getting a real kick out of watching the "right-wing moral zealots" run around with their hair on fire, screaming about the end of the world, while society becomes more accepting of an individual's personal choices. It is driving the zealots nuts. Make that "nuttier". They have been nuts for some time. My greatest hope is that I live long enough to see the politics of reason and understanding trump (make that wipe-out) the politics of fear and hate. I hope the "cannabis wars" are moving people in the direction of reason and understanding.

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The MMMA is a voter initiative. It is very difficult to overturn and once opened by the legislature, who knows what damage could be done to the base law.

 

Question for the legal types.

 

If a legislature based bill could be introduced, one that required a 51% majority, to reference the MMMA and expand it to allow regulated dispensaries, would that be a better approach than cracking open the Act? I don't think they can restrict the MMMA without a supermajority, but can they 'build' on it and ADD other things, like dispensaries and p2p?

 

Dr. Bob

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The MMMA is a voter initiative. It is very difficult to overturn and once opened by the legislature, who knows what damage could be done to the base law.

 

Question for the legal types.

 

If a legislature based bill could be introduced, one that required a 51% majority, to reference the MMMA and expand it to allow regulated dispensaries, would that be a better approach than cracking open the Act? I don't think they can restrict the MMMA without a supermajority, but can they 'build' on it and ADD other things, like dispensaries and p2p?

 

Dr. Bob

 

Yep .. they could define dispensaries, medables, topicals, testing labs, medical research and Rick Simpson hemp oil.

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I am happy to see that people are taking notice of our situation, because it is everyones problem not just that of medical marijuana patients. That sums it up pretty well, but in reality the situation is much worse. We all need to take action, write letters and submit editorials, send emails and let the public know what's realy going on. If you personaly can't take action, and can afford it, donate to an organization such as this one. Thanks for posting the article, it gives me hope to see that people are taking this issue seriously and getting the word out.

 

:goodjob: :goodjob:

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