Last Update: March 3, 2014
Key medical marijuana bills move forward
Two key bills, which include protections for medical marijuana patients and those who provide to them, passed the House of Representatives in landslide votes late last year. HB 4271, sponsored by Representative Mike Callton (R), would allow local governments to license and regulate provisioning centers (dispensaries). It received a landslide vote of 94-14 in the House. HB 5104, sponsored by Representative Eileen Kowall (R), would extend the protections currently in place for smoked forms of marijuana to marijuana extracts, a key ingredient in topical salves, edibles, and tinctures. That bill received an even more lopsided 100-9 in favor. Special thanks are due to both Rep. Callton and Rep. Kowall for sponsoring these important pieces of legislation, the National Patients Rights Associations, and all the other advocates and patients who are working on this effort.
Both bills have been assigned to the Senate Government Operations Committee. Please take a few moments to contact your senator today and voice your support for these important bills. Then, please ask the committee chair — Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville — to allow these bills to move without delay.
Meanwhile, a potentially harmful bill was proposed by Sen. Rick Jones. SB 736 would give courts the ability to determine whether a parent or guardian’s use of medical marijuana patient harms a child. Significant amendments are underway that we hope will establish meaningful protections for seriously ill patients as well as those who depend on them.
Local victories keep up drumbeat for statewide marijuana policy reform
Last November, voters in Lansing, Ferndale, and Jackson approved initiatives to remove local penalties for adults’ possession of small amounts of marijuana in a private residence. The victories follow four other cities approving similar measures in 2012 — Grand Rapids, Detroit, Flint, and Ypsilanti.
Unfortunately, local police are still allowed to enforce state law even in those cities, and some cities appear determined to spend their limited resources on arresting people for a substance that is safer than alcohol, regardless of what voters want. There’s a clear mandate and need for statewide reform, and State Rep. Jeff Irwin and Senator Coleman A. Young II, are championing just that. Both bills would decriminalize possession of an ounce or less of marijuana in Michigan and remove all criminal penalties including jail time. Ask your state representative to support Rep Irwin’s HB 4623 here. A copy of the bill is available online here. To support, Sen. Young’s SB 626, click here and send your senator a message in support. To view SB 626, click here.
The Michigan Medical Marihuana Program
Application forms, along with the full text of the law and accompanying regulations, can be found at the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website.
Under the MMMA, patients can choose to either cultivate their own medical marijuana in an enclosed, locked facility or to designate a caregiver to do so for them. Caregivers can assist no more than five patients. Also, note that in late 2012, the legislature passed several bills that changed the way the program works. Here’s a helpful summary (PDF) of those new laws.