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Vote On Medical Marijuana Bills Allowing Dispensaries, Edibles, Pharmacy Sales On Hold


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Vote on medical marijuana bills allowing dispensaries, edibles, pharmacy sales on hold | Detroit Free Press | freep.com


LANSING — A vote on a trio of bills related to Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Act probably won’t happen until next year.


But that didn’t stop a couple hundred people affected by the law from cramming into three committee rooms Thursday to voice their support and concerns about the bills during a meeting of the House Judiciary Committee.


“Our current legislation is the worst,” said Stephen Postema, city attorney for Ann Arbor. “At least take the next step and move the Michigan law into a better place than it is now.”

The bills would allow communities to determine and regulate if they want medical marijuana dispensaries — called provisioning centers — to operate in their communities; it also would allow for the manufacture and sale of other forms of marijuana, including edibles like brownies and oils.


The bills are needed, said sponsors state Reps. Mike Callton, R-Nashville, and Eileen Kowall, R-White Lake, because court rulings have made dispensaries and edible forms of marijuana illegal.


“I really believe in this because there are some patients who really need it,” Callton said. “And I would rather see them get marijuana in a place where felons are limited and the product is tested.”


Communities can opt in or out of allowing dispensaries in their communities.


“This is about local control, because it’s not right for every community,” Callton said.


The edibles bill is needed because many patients, especially seriously ill children, can’t smoke the product, Kowall said.


“The law has largely been reduced to smoking and vaporizing the marijuana,” Kowall said. “But after speaking with caregivers, most would prefer to ingest in ways other than smoking. They desperately need alternative delivery methods.”


Jim Powers of Center Line brought his toddler son, Ryan, who has minimal change nephrosis, an autoimmune disease that attacks the kidneys, mostly in young children. Marijuana-infused oils have helped modulate his immune system and alleviate the symptoms of the disease.


“Out of desperation, we turned to cannabis oil, and he went into remission, but the court of appeals ruled his medicine illegal,” Powers said.


The third bill, which has already passed the state Senate, would amend the public health code and classify marijuana as a Schedule 2 controlled substance; provide for the licensure and regulation of facilities to grow and test pharmaceutical grade pot, and allow those facilities to sell the drug to pharmacies to dispense.


Medical marijuana users would have to get an additional, enhanced certificate from a doctor in order to be able to buy the drug from a pharmacy.


The legislation is contingent upon the federal government reclassifying marijuana as a Schedule 2 controlled substance, which would give it medical legitimacy and would allow pharmacies to dispense it. Marijuana is now a Schedule 1 controlled substance that the federal government still considers an illegal substance with no medical benefit.


None of the three bills would affect a medical marijuana user or caregiver from continuing to grow their own cannabis.


Testimony on the bills will continue in the committee on Tuesday.




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