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Tweaks Proposed To Medical Marijuana Package


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Tweaks Proposed To Medical Marijuana Package

 

The House Judiciary Committee today heard a broad range of reactions to a series of bills aimed at bringing clarity to Michigan's medical marijuana law.

 

The hearing was the second of three planned to discuss medical marijuana after a workgroup met on the issue last year. At last week's hearing, the workgroup presented its findings and explained the four bills it is proposing to deal with some of the issues that have arisen for enforcing and interpreting the law (See "Medical Marijuana Workgroup Skips Dispensary Question," 2/23/12).

 

Audience members in the packed committee room were at times vocal with their reactions to the testimony being given, applauding some statements and providing commentary on others.

 

The main objections to the bills from the groups testifying today centered around law enforcement access to the medical marijuana registry and the definition of a bona fide physician-patient relationship.

 

David BROGREN, executive director of Cannabis Patients United, said his problem with HB 4851 is that the definition of a bona fide relationship is not uniformly applied to all doctor-patient relationships. He said he feels the public health code is the right place for that language.

 

Rep. Ken HORN (R-Frankenmuth), one of the workgroup members, said that unless the relationship is defined, medical marijuana patients are at risk.

 

Tim KNOWLTON, with Cannabis Patients United, said that unless the medical board addresses the definition of that relationship for all doctors and patients it is "nothing but an effort to discriminate against marijuana users and patients."

 

"Physicians didn't ask for this bill," Horn said. "This bill was brought to them by the citizens. It says bona fide relationship but it doesn't define it. . . . Isn't it good to define what's in the Constitution?"

 

Knowlton held his position, saying "there should always be a bona fide doctor-patient relationship," and it should have existed prior to the legalization of medical marijuana in Michigan.

 

Committee Chair Rep. John WALSH (R-Livonia) said he would "rest comfortably that we still have time to work on this."

 

Another issue Cannabis Patients United presented with the bills was the access HB 4834 would allow to the medical marijuana registry by law enforcement.

 

The bill as written would allow "state or local law enforcement officials" access to the registry for "inquiries made in the course of their official duties."

 

Knowlton said there should at least be a probable cause standard.

 

Rep. Jeff IRWIN (D-Ann Arbor) said "it sounds like you're saying you want access to the database for law enforcement to be very narrowly tailored" so it is not used "as a hit list."

 

That statement gathered some applause from the audience.

 

Tod BILLMAN with Veterans for Freedom also expressed concern about how much information could be released to law enforcement officials about medical marijuana patients and about the definition of a bona fide physician-patient relationship.

 

"This change implies the patient needs to know more than the doctor and is responsible for keeping the doctor legal," he said. "Who will be the determining person to decide if it is a bona fide relationship? A judge?"

 

Billman also asked whether doctors would be allowed to un-certify patients who do not come back to them for follow up visits. A reasonable expectation of follow-up care is part of the definition.

 

"It sounds like some doctor's dream -- see me or you'll be arrested," Billman said to applause from the audience.

 

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) staff attorney Dan KOROBKIN asked the Legislature to "tread carefully" with the issues they are trying to address in the bills, echoing some of the earlier concerns about law enforcement access to the registry.

 

ACLU feels HB 4834 allows too much access to the registry by allowing officials to learn the medical ailments of patients along with the name and address of their doctor.

 

"There is no need for law enforcement to have access to the registry unless they already have probable cause to believe someone is violating the law," Korobkin said.

 

Testimony from two members of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association (MMMA) took a much broader stance against the four bills than the other groups who testified today.

 

Michael KOMORN, president of MMMA, said if any of the bills are passed "all you're going to get is a bigger hammer."

 

"It will be the patient who will bear the brunt of the legislation you are proposing," he said.

 

Joe CAIN, CEO of MMMA, said education and training for law enforcement officers is needed to help protect the rights of medical marijuana patients. He also said the Legislature needs to take steps to ensure patient rights "are not political ping pong in the courts."

 

"There has never been a real attempt to understand the needs of the medical marijuana community," he said.

 

Rep. Lisa BROWN (D-West Bloomfield), after questions were asked about how reports of marijuana are handled, asked Michigan State Police Detective First Lt. Tim GILL what happens if a person reports seeing someone else take Vicodin.

 

Gill paused, and the audience applauded, with someone saying, "That's the point."

 

"I can tell you I've never had a circumstance like that," Gill said.

 

Brown said education is needed for people to understand marijuana is a medication that can be prescribed.

 

"If my neighbor is not going to call the police on me for taking Vicodin, they shouldn't be calling the police on me because I'm taking medical marijuana," she said.

 

http://www.mirsnews.com/capsule.php#30248

Edited by AlternativeSolutionsPlus
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Excellant post! Our community is hitting the nail on the head. Thanks to all those in the medical, legal and political realm as well as those supporters who are on the front lines of the medical marijuana legislative hearings. Your testimonies are the catalyst that will open the beginning of a new era.

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Yes a good article and I listened to all the feedback given to the panel which didn't point out deaths have occured from arrest due to patient vulnerability . The majority of these Senetors never comprehended the terrible position they were placing patients in with further tightening of rules .and how these extra burdens and barriers to medical use could result in more undeserving patients being taken out of their homes , jailed , fined with property taken for felonies designed for narcotics trafficers not patients ,businessmen and women struggling with the implementation of legal medical marihuana use in our State . The result of these measures would escalate risks ., costs and travel requirements on sick and injured patients which are not used with any other medications . Many patients already go to a myriad of Doctors in State hospitals that are setting policies of zero tolerance for recommendations and normal access to adjunctive care against a legal State activity it is responsable to implement . .

 

I just find it difficult to believe they can't come up with one bill to help patients whom participate in this legal State program which would prevent citizens from being harmed and treated like narcotics trafficers for merely doing their best to support and comply in the real world practical application of medical use thas defined approved by the voters in our State .

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Guest zigg01

Tweaks Proposed To Medical Marijuana Package

 

The House Judiciary Committee today heard a broad range of reactions to a series of bills aimed at bringing clarity to Michigan's medical marijuana law.

 

The hearing was the second of three planned to discuss medical marijuana after a workgroup met on the issue last year. At last week's hearing, the workgroup presented its findings and explained the four bills it is proposing to deal with some of the issues that have arisen for enforcing and interpreting the law (See "Medical Marijuana Workgroup Skips Dispensary Question," 2/23/12).

 

Audience members in the packed committee room were at times vocal with their reactions to the testimony being given, applauding some statements and providing commentary on others.

 

The main objections to the bills from the groups testifying today centered around law enforcement access to the medical marijuana registry and the definition of a bona fide physician-patient relationship.

 

David BROGREN, executive director of Cannabis Patients United, said his problem with HB 4851 is that the definition of a bona fide relationship is not uniformly applied to all doctor-patient relationships. He said he feels the public health code is the right place for that language.

 

Rep. Ken HORN (R-Frankenmuth), one of the workgroup members, said that unless the relationship is defined, medical marijuana patients are at risk.

 

Tim KNOWLTON, with Cannabis Patients United, said that unless the medical board addresses the definition of that relationship for all doctors and patients it is "nothing but an effort to discriminate against marijuana users and patients."

 

"Physicians didn't ask for this bill," Horn said. "This bill was brought to them by the citizens. It says bona fide relationship but it doesn't define it. . . . Isn't it good to define what's in the Constitution?"

 

Knowlton held his position, saying "there should always be a bona fide doctor-patient relationship," and it should have existed prior to the legalization of medical marijuana in Michigan.

 

Committee Chair Rep. John WALSH (R-Livonia) said he would "rest comfortably that we still have time to work on this."

 

Another issue Cannabis Patients United presented with the bills was the access HB 4834 would allow to the medical marijuana registry by law enforcement.

 

The bill as written would allow "state or local law enforcement officials" access to the registry for "inquiries made in the course of their official duties."

 

Knowlton said there should at least be a probable cause standard.

 

Rep. Jeff IRWIN (D-Ann Arbor) said "it sounds like you're saying you want access to the database for law enforcement to be very narrowly tailored" so it is not used "as a hit list."

 

That statement gathered some applause from the audience.

 

Tod BILLMAN with Veterans for Freedom also expressed concern about how much information could be released to law enforcement officials about medical marijuana patients and about the definition of a bona fide physician-patient relationship.

 

"This change implies the patient needs to know more than the doctor and is responsible for keeping the doctor legal," he said. "Who will be the determining person to decide if it is a bona fide relationship? A judge?"

 

Billman also asked whether doctors would be allowed to un-certify patients who do not come back to them for follow up visits. A reasonable expectation of follow-up care is part of the definition.

 

"It sounds like some doctor's dream -- see me or you'll be arrested," Billman said to applause from the audience.

 

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) staff attorney Dan KOROBKIN asked the Legislature to "tread carefully" with the issues they are trying to address in the bills, echoing some of the earlier concerns about law enforcement access to the registry.

 

ACLU feels HB 4834 allows too much access to the registry by allowing officials to learn the medical ailments of patients along with the name and address of their doctor.

 

"There is no need for law enforcement to have access to the registry unless they already have probable cause to believe someone is violating the law," Korobkin said.

 

Testimony from two members of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association (MMMA) took a much broader stance against the four bills than the other groups who testified today.

 

Michael KOMORN, president of MMMA, said if any of the bills are passed "all you're going to get is a bigger hammer."

 

"It will be the patient who will bear the brunt of the legislation you are proposing," he said.

 

Joe CAIN, CEO of MMMA, said education and training for law enforcement officers is needed to help protect the rights of medical marijuana patients. He also said the Legislature needs to take steps to ensure patient rights "are not political ping pong in the courts."

 

"There has never been a real attempt to understand the needs of the medical marijuana community," he said.

 

Rep. Lisa BROWN (D-West Bloomfield), after questions were asked about how reports of marijuana are handled, asked Michigan State Police Detective First Lt. Tim GILL what happens if a person reports seeing someone else take Vicodin.

 

Gill paused, and the audience applauded, with someone saying, "That's the point."

 

"I can tell you I've never had a circumstance like that," Gill said.

 

Brown said education is needed for people to understand marijuana is a medication that can be prescribed.

 

"If my neighbor is not going to call the police on me for taking Vicodin, they shouldn't be calling the police on me because I'm taking medical marijuana," she said.

 

http://www.mirsnews.com/capsule.php#30248

 

 

 

http://www.mirsnews.com/capsule.php#30248

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