Michigan – Will Kuipers' bill on medical marijuana go up in smoke?

Friday May 29, 2009 – Some say the proposed changes are intended to undermine voters who overwhelmingly supported the use of medical marijuana during the 2008 general election. A8-MEXIDR_TH_C_^_THURSDAY Recent stories illuminating big holes in Michigan’s medical marijuana policy and are sparking debate. (Get it? Spark? … Never mind.)

In November, Michigan voters approved a ballot initiative legalizing medical marijuana to the tune of 63 percent.

Now, State Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, is proposing legislation that, among other things, would require patients to get a prescription for the drug from a doctor and pick it up from a pharmacist.

Seems straightforward, right? Here’s the catch: Under federal law, doctors aren’t allowed to prescribe marijuana, only recommend it for use.

“The law is what it is — (marijuana is) not a prescription-based medicine. Doctors can’t prescribe it,” said James McCurtis Jr., spokesman for the Michigan Department of Community Health.

Michigan is one of 13 states that have legalized medical marijuana. But federal law, under which marijuana is illegal for any use, supersedes state law. Marijuana also has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Earlier this week, the Jackson Citizen Patriot ran a story under the headline “Michigan’s new medical marijuana law is somewhat hazy” (these pot stories are a copy editor’s dream) highlighting the confusion.

It read: “Registered patients or caregivers are allowed to grow limited amounts of marijuana in an enclosed, locked facility.

“However, the law neither protects marijuana plants from being seized nor individuals from being prosecuted if the federal government chooses to take action against patients and caregivers under the federal Controlled Substances Act.”

According to the text of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, the vast majority of marijuana arrests are made under state rather than federal law, and “states are not required to enforce federal law or prosecute people for engaging in activities prohibited by federal law.”

Meanwhile, Kuipers’ bill also proposes licensing 10 growers statewide to provide pharmacists with pot, despite statistics indicating that particular horse already may have left the barn.

The Department of Community Health began accepting applications for medical marijuana in early April after developing administrative rules. The agency has received 2,144 applications, and issued cards to 1,188 patients and 403 caregivers, who can provide marijuana to up to five patients.

Another 265 applications are pending, with 288 denied.

Kuipers said: “This legislation is not meant to condone medical marijuana.” Well, it doesn’t need to. Voters already did.

Wait, he goes on: “… or undermine the will of the public that overwhelmingly voted to allow marijuana usage for medical purposes.”

That’s clever, playing to both sides without really saying anything.

Anyway, the bill is strongly opposed by the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, which claims it violates the act passed by voters.

The organization also lists numerous “Compassion Clubs”, including one in Grand Rapids that meets at the planetarium when they do the Pink Floyd laser-light shows.

Joking, joking. Compassion Clubs are support groups for patients who are now allowed to use medical marijuana.

However, the logistics of that use remain, you guessed it, hazy.

by Troy Reimink | Source.

One response to “Michigan – Will Kuipers' bill on medical marijuana go up in smoke?”

  1. 13 states have already legalized medical marijuana and Michigan is the 14th and will NOT be the Last.But “Federal” law, under which marijuana is illegal for “ANY” use, supersedes state law.
    This is Exactly what I have been talking about for WAY too long now.Especially with Today’s latest announcement of-
    “The guidelines to be issued to federal prosecutors Monday will “Suggest” that it’s not a good use of time to go after users and distributors of medical marijuana in the 14 states that allow such usage”.:End Quote:

    The HB 2835 Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act 2009 would be the Official Seal of Approval and provide the “Proper” Protection the People Need.
    Obama, Pass it and Do it right, Do NOT make Empty “VERBAL” promises that can be broken.
    Memo`s to other agency’s are NOT law.

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