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Michigan Lawmakers Weigh-In On Other States' Push To Have Marijuana Reclassified

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BAY CITY — As Michigan’s legal system begins to deal with fallout from the state’s medical marijuana law, a few other states think they have an answer to clearing up confusion surrounding the drug and its use.


Washington, Rhode Island, Vermont and Colorado are petitioning the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug, rather than the more restricted Schedule I drug it currently is considered.


The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 divides drugs into five classifications, or schedules. Marijuana is grouped with drugs such as heroin and ecstasy.


“Schedule I is for substances that have no medicinal value that are harmful,” said Barbara Carreno, a DEA spokeswoman in Washington, D.C. “Schedules II through V are for substances that have medicinal usage and their level of harm varies. The higher the number, the less harm.”


Schedule II drugs include cocaine, oxycodone, opium, methadone and Ritalin.


State Rep. Charles M. Brunner, D-Bay City, said the push to have marijuana reclassified may have merit.


“If it’s something that would help to clarify and to facilitate the voters’ intention, which was to help folks who have chronic illness, it’s certainly something we need to take a look at and possibly do,” Brunner said. “Most people thought it would be something you could go to the drugstore and purchase. By changing (the schedule), it could allow that to happen.


“Part of the problem now is it’s in legal limbo as far as what to do with the federal legislation and state of Michigan legislation,” Brunner said.


Michigan is one of 16 states allowing use of marijuana for medical purposes. Under federal law, though, no use of marijuana is legal, and state law simultaneously says sale of medical marijuana is prohibited, but compensation from patient to grower is acceptable.


The seemingly contradictory laws leave Michigan law enforcement agencies in a quandary.


“They have to set some very clear definitions,” said Bay County Sheriff John E. Miller. “It’s a very vague law. It doesn’t help anybody the way it’s written.”


Still, Miller doesn’t think reclassification of marijuana is the solution.


“The big problem is some of these people who are selling are supposed to be selling to a certain group of people. They’re selling to anybody who walks in the door. If somebody complies with the laws as they’re written ... I don’t have a problem with it,” he said.


Crumby would like to see Michigan join in the effort to have marijuana reclassified, but he’s not optimistic, largely because of what he perceives as the anti-marijuana stance of state Attorney General Bill Schuette, who has joined in legal action to shut down marijuana dispensaries.


Despite the DEA being unable to reschedule substances on its own, Carreno said states appealing to them is still worthwhile.


“We’re a starting point,” she said. “What the governors are saying is, ‘We think the science has evolved and we’re asking you to look at it again.’ If the FDA were to decide tomorrow that smoked marijuana is a medicine, they would work with us to determine what schedule to put it in.”


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There is no need for intense regulation medical cannabis should not even be scheduled it should be dropped to a over the counter item . It does not fit in pharmacy distribution there are too many strains and people should be able to grow their own . Medicinal cannabis should not be taxable with recreational if it ever happens only having normal sales tax the same as aloe or other medicinal herbs .The number of jobs and activity it increases will still have a very meaningful spillover benefit to the State in terms of revenue . Not to mention if we reintroduce those whom have been denied work and educational opportunities


I know many people dislike my discussions on the cost of cannabis . Yet cost as influenced by dosing requirements is a serious issue surrounding use effecting how people see this as a beneficial treatment for patients . It is not unusual for qualified individuals ( or those not yet covered with mental pain ) to benefit from 2-3 ozs a week of use . That would be ridiculous and unthinkable for many recreational users but patients bodies are often so stressed by injury or disease even other medications they do have benefit . Patients need to find their own limits where they feel comfortable and yes less . However the main point is even at $100 a ounce this would equate to over $15,000 dollars . My income is a fraction of that to live off of the entire year and I am not a abnormal statistic . Without insurance to cover the cost or sliding subsidized fee scales it is impossible to obtain even a 1/3 or the oz a week Dr Bob speaks of at a price almost 1/2 of what the Farmers Market can offer on a good day which is already half of what cannabis goes for on the Street . ( Thank you caregivers whom are bringing the price down )


All I know is the less regulation the more supply and the lower the price that is the free markets at work . If you put that together with the huge percentage of patients that truly care and were and are willing to assist patients at cost within a open properly interpreted Michigan Medical Marihuana Act that protects all phases of necessary medical use including transfers among all qualified parties without question ; Michigan truly can lead the way in compassionate use previously undeveloped in any State . Hopefully the legalization effort will make Michigan First to truly put Patients first .


If full legalization takes place I will always feel the qualified patients and caregivers should be rewarded as suppliers to offest the effects of being economically disadvantaged and discriminated against a process that will take years to reverse .

Edited by Croppled1
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