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Card Problems Highlighted By Metro Times 2/8


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http://metrotimes.com/mmj/getting-carded-1.1268708

 

Getting carded

 

Fuming over how many months it takes for the state to issue medical marijuana cards

 

By Larry Gabriel

Published: February 8, 2012

The heady atmosphere of the early days of medical marijuana in Michigan seems to have dissipated. Back then, there was a celebratory atmosphere as dispensaries were popping across the state and money from ganjapreneurs in Colorado and California flowed in as they expanded into the newest market to welcome their wares. But Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette was less welcoming and led the charge against medical marijuana, particularly dispensaries, which have been raided and shut down in numerous areas of the state. Individual patients and caregivers have been prosecuted and found guilty when they believed they were in compliance with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.

Some activists have responded by starting a petition drive to amend the state Constitution to make it legal for adults to manufacture, buy, sell and possess the substance. But there are others who just want to see the current law implemented as they think it was intended.

"This is something the people put in place," says Jamie Lowell, founder of the Third Coast Compassion Center in Ypsilanti. "It works when people haven't been interfered with. I think the law needs to be implemented properly first."

Craig Canterberry wholeheartedly agrees. Canterberry is a medical marijuana patient, vice president of the Dickinson County Compassion Club in the Upper Peninsula and runs the forum at michigancannabispatients.com. Canterberry puts up an informal, unscientific poll each year through the online forum asking participants what medical marijuana issues they think are most important to focus on in the next near. This year's 100 or so respondents agreed with those of the past few years: They want the state Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to get medical marijuana registration cards out in a timelier manner. A taped message at the LARA office said that the office was currently processing applications that were received in July and renewals for patients whose cards expired in September 2011.

"Cards are just being released from last July and August," says Canterberry. "If that was done with driver's licenses, hunting licenses, fishing licenses or doctor's licenses, I'm pretty sure there would be a lot of outrage. This is pretty much a unanimous topic among anybody who has anything to do with the MMMA program. They should be able to have these cards out in a turnaround of 10 days."

And by law, the state is supposed to process cards within 20 days —15 days to approve or reject an application and five days to issue cards to approved applicants.

They don't seem to be having any trouble collecting the money. The voice message at the LARA office assures callers that if "your check or money order has been cashed then your application is in line to be processed."

The problem here is that patients need their medicine in uninterrupted supply. I don't think they make you wait six or eight months to get your medicine when you go to a pharmacy. The prescription-to-pharmacy model isn't quite the same as the medical marijuana system, but once it's been determined that if you qualify then you should be able to get it. The situation forces people to break the law, or at least stretch it uncomfortably, to get medication illegally.

"There are people getting hurt by not having their ID cards," Lowell says.

If your card has not been issued within 20 days, the law says your application can serve as your valid registry identification. However many law enforcement and court officers haven't been aware of this provision and dragged patients and caregivers using applications as their registry identification through the legal system until the situation was cleared up. This is something sick people really shouldn't have to go through.

"Patients want their cards, caregivers want their cards, police want them to have cards, prosecutors want them to have cards and legislators want people to have their cards on them," Canterberry says. "Why are we not receiving them on time?"

I would have asked the folks at LARA, but, when I called there, the voice mailbox was full. I don't think the folks at LARA want to take this seriously. A Dec. 8 report on the Michigan Information & Research Service shows the state's manager of the medical marijuana program to be less than sympathetic to patients. When asked by members of a House committee where patients could get their medication when dispensaries are shut down, Rae Ramsdell said they could get it at the local "high school." When Rep. Brandon Dillon, D-Grand Rapids, questioned her response, she added a "university" to her response.

Later in the day Ramsdell expressed remorse for her "flip comment" and said, "The law doesn't say where a person can get medical marijuana. Where does a person go? I don't know." Based on the way her office has been issuing cards, I guess they can just go to hell.

Canterberry lays blame at Ramsdell's door: "It seems to be a direct path toward the administrators of the program. I would venture to call it gross administrative incompetence at this point."

Activists say the main thing to do about it is talk to your local representative to get them to pressure the LARA office to work more quickly and efficiently to get approved cards out to patients and caregivers. That lobbying just might work because all state representative seats are up for election this fall.

"For the 2012 elections, expect much more activity out of the cannabis community," Canterberry says. "Much of the community is living in fear due to the pressure put on them by the attorney general's office and local ordinances. There's going to be a high activity level among patients and their families. I've actually been amazed by the questions and activities around the elections this year. ... There has been a political action committee formed, Cannapac, that is going to be asking questions of candidates about their support for the MMMA and its administration."

You would think the money is there to fund proper administration. Estimates are that the state has taken in $8 million in registration fees. That money is not earmarked for LARA administration; it goes into the state's general fund. But the state can appropriate the funds to the program. It's not a lot of cash by state budget standards, but it evidences a significant constituency out there on the issue. Maybe Ramsdell should wake up and see what side her bread is buttered on ... or maybe that's cannabutter.

There are a lot of issues around marijuana motivating folks to get active in this political season. Someone near you might pop up asking you to sign a petition to put the question of legalizing marijuana in Michigan on the fall ballot. Just so you know what they're trying to do, here is the language of the proposed state constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana:

 

Article 1 Section 28.

Repeal of Marihuana Prohibition.

For persons who are at least 21 years of age who are not incarcerated, marihuana acquisition, cultivation, manufacture, sale, delivery, transfer, transportation, possession, ingestion, presence in or on the body, religious, medical, industrial, agricultural, commercial or personal use, or possession or use of paraphernalia shall not be prohibited, abridged or penalized in any manner, nor subject to civil forfeiture; provided that no person shall be permitted to operate an aircraft, motor vehicle, motorboat, ORV, snowmobile, train, or other heavy or dangerous equipment or machinery while impaired by marihuana.

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9. Enforcement of this Act.

 

Sec. 9. (a) If the department fails to adopt rules to implement this act within 120 days of the effective date of this act, a qualifying patient may commence an action in the circuit court for the county of Ingham to compel the department to perform the actions mandated pursuant to the provisions of this act.

 

This is what needs to be done over card delays and failure to consider new qualifying conditions. Nearly 3 years later and still no hearings for new conditions is blatant disregard of the law.

 

Mike

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it will do more its will display all the complaints publicly, letting the rest of fellow michiganders know what up, It could get more people to stand up ...the more people stand up..the more pressure LARA will be unde. if they don't wana do whats right we will make them

Edited by TheBeagle
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http://metrotimes.co...arded-1.1268708

 

Getting carded

 

Fuming over how many months it takes for the state to issue medical marijuana cards

 

Article 1 Section 28.

Repeal of Marihuana Prohibition.

For persons who are at least 21 years of age who are not incarcerated, marihuana acquisition, cultivation, manufacture, sale, delivery, transfer, transportation, possession, ingestion, presence in or on the body, religious, medical, industrial, agricultural, commercial or personal use, or possession or use of paraphernalia shall not be prohibited, abridged or penalized in any manner, nor subject to civil forfeiture; provided that no person shall be permitted to operate an aircraft, motor vehicle, motorboat, ORV, snowmobile, train, or other heavy or dangerous equipment or machinery while impaired by marihuana.

 

I am on board as usual with Larry Gabrial . I hope volunteers can bring this Repeal of Marihuana Prohibition to the ballot box but I expect the Feds will push hard against anyone involved and " impaired " will not be defined in our favor as patients without allot of argument and discriminatory arrests judged in a court of law . As patients were all a little impaired cannabis helps take the edge off , medication is suppose to help a person be more normal then without using it .

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When I last spoke with Celeste over there, she said they are awaiting approval for the purchase order to actually order a new printer to meet card demand.

 

I wonder who's holding up signing that PO?

 

Is Rae Ramsdell the manager who needs to sign that PO, is Rae the clenched anus that is constapating the issuance of the cards?

 

The parable of the Clenched rectumhole

 

When the body was first made, all the parts wanted to be Boss.

 

 

 

The Brain said, "I should be Boss because I control the whole body's responses and functions."

 

 

 

The feet said, "We should be Boss as we carry the brain about and get him to where he wants to go." The hands said, "We should be Boss because we do all the work and earn all the money."

 

And so it went on and on with the heart, the lungs and the eyes until

finally the rectumhole spoke up.

 

 

 

All the parts laughed at the idea of the rectumhole being the Boss. So the rectumhole went on strike, blocked itself up and refused to work.

 

 

 

Within a short time the eyes became crossed, the hands clenched, the Feet twitched, the heart and lungs began to panic and the brain fevered.

 

 

 

Eventually they all decided that rectumhole should be the Boss, so the motion was passed.

 

 

 

All the other parts did all the work while the Boss just sat and passed out the sh!%!

 

 

 

Management Lesson:

You don't need brains to be a Boss - any rectumhole will do.

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Since LARA doesn't take the mmp seriously, would it be possible to author one of the following bills without opening the mmma to revisions:

 

1. to transfer the card (processing & printing) responsibilities to the sos to attain reasonable fees / timing per the law.

 

2. to require LARA to email an acceptance notice & id# within 20days, AND not to cash the check until the notice has been emailed.

 

I think #2 would give LARA the incentive to work for the people instead of the current "taxation" without representation.

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Since LARA doesn't take the mmp seriously, would it be possible to author one of the following bills without opening the mmma to revisions:

 

1. to transfer the card (processing & printing) responsibilities to the sos to attain reasonable fees / timing per the law.

 

2. to require LARA to email an acceptance notice & id# within 20days, AND not to cash the check until the notice has been emailed.

 

I think #2 would give LARA the incentive to work for the people instead of the current "taxation" without representation.

I think that's a great idea. On the other hand, if they really wanted to get the cards out on time, the money is there for them to hire more people and equipment, and I can't imagine that would take very long. But then again we are talking about the government. I don't think it's that they can't do it. I think it's that someone somewhere doesn't want it done.

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NOTE TO ALL....

 

They don't seem to be having any trouble collecting the money. The voice message at the LARA office assures callers that if "your check or money order has been cashed then your application is in line to be processed."

 

 

that strictly states IF the State has Cashed the Check, then your application has been ACCEPTED TO THE Registry program.

 

It was a topic of hot debate here last year about the state cashing the check, prior to doing the work and if a cashed check indeed indicated application acceptance. I made the position it did. This helps clarifies that position. The State will NOT cash a check, thus allow the application to be processed, unless the Person has BEEN ACCEPTED into the program.

 

As I said last year, if your check is cashed, you HAVE been accepted to the program and can expect NO denial letter....

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One of my patients had a check cash, after his renewal. I went about my business 7 months passed and still no card. I called the mmmp and they told me that my I was approved but I had expired. They would not give me any other information. So I made the patient call even though they cashed his check for renewal he was in fact denied. They told him that they would refund him his money at some point. #1 They had no problem cashing his check #2 They wouldn't renew him but still cashed his check #3 what does at some point mean? I had to kill all of his plants at that point.

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I think that's a great idea. On the other hand, if they really wanted to get the cards out on time, the money is there for them to hire more people and equipment, and I can't imagine that would take very long. But then again we are talking about the government. I don't think it's that they can't do it. I think it's that someone somewhere doesn't want it done.

 

I agree... if Lansing wanted to, they could get the cards out in time. I suspect that people in charge of the budget / general fund prefer to spend the money elsewhere... like on LE or education. And that they think, "how can we get the most profit out of the mmp? Keep the fees high (ignore sec 5b) and invest as little money (printer/staff) as possible. We hardly even have to support the mmp... the money just keeps flowing in."

 

I doubt LARA will change their ways until one of two things happens:

1. a threat to their breaking the law (sec 6c/e),

2. legislation or administrative rules (like #2 in yesterday's post) engineered to provides an incentive for LARA to increase their throughput

 

If Lansing couldn't cash the checks until they mailed the cards, they would suddenly have a 6month hold on mmp revenue of maybe $1.1M per month. I'm sure they would start catching up with the card backlog real fast.

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