Michigan: Medicinal Marijuana spawns Compassion Club

January 10, 2010 – Mount Pleasant junior Brandon McQueen is hoping to teach people how to cook with marijuana.

The goal is among many he has as part of his recently formed Compassion Club.

Since Michigan residents voted to legalize medical marijuana in November 2008, the law has left some qualified patients scratching their heads. The biggest problem: the enacted law does not specify how to obtain the substance.

To alleviate the problem, McQueen started the Mount Pleasant Compassion Club — one of several cropping up across the state, namely facilitated by the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association.

“I’ve always just had a passion for reforming marijuana laws and I’ve always been very political,” McQueen said. “I told myself that I was going to throw myself into things and start this club.”

McQueen said since its inception, about 100 people came to meetings of the local Compassion Club — 20 being regulars. The group’s first meeting of the year is at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 21 at Biggby Coffee, 210 S. Mission St.

McQueen calls the club “a place for caregivers, patients and anybody who’s interested about medicinal marijuana to come together, meet, learn and network to find the information they’re looking for.”

Currently, he is working toward earning a 501c3 tax status for the MTPLCC and compiling a list of doctors willing to issue recommendations for qualified patients.

“The law provides patients protection in the use, acquisition and cultivation of marijuana, but there’s no legal means as to how they obtain it,” said Celeste Clarkson, compliance section manager with the state Bureau of Health Professions.

No issues
Dave Sabuda, Mount Pleasant Police Department public information officer, said there have been no issues surrounding the use of medical marijuana within jurisdiction.

“We went over the laws and how it would affect us, and we depend on our prosecutor to talk to us on how to deal with questionable things, and we haven’t had any problems with it at all,” Sabuda said.

Like any other statute, however, Sabuda knows there could be room for abuse since the law is in its early stages.

“Anytime we have new laws, there’s always going to be questions raised … and as time goes on, there’s a period of oversight or interpretation issues,” Sabuda said.

Clarkson said there have been primitive discussions in Lansing about implementing government-run marijuana warehouses or a dispensary that registered patients may obtain their medical marijuana from in order to avoid complications with law enforcement.

Whether Michigan could garner any revenue from selling medical marijuana via tax revenues is among the issues being discussed, she said.

Since the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program began approving patient applications in early April 2008, 12,723 applications were received and 6,920 of them were approved. About 71 applications are received on average each day. Source.

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