Two state representatives in Michigan have filed legislation in the 2015 session to expand the current medical marijuana program in the Great Lake State. The two bills, introduced by representatives Mike Callton (R-Nashville) and Lisa Lyons (R-Alto), address the issues of safe distribution of medical marijuana and the use of smokeless forms of the plant.
The bill introduced by representative Callton would shift the medical marijuana distribution chain away from the current dispensary model. Instead, this legislation introduces tighter regulations for cleanliness of medical marijuana distribution centers with a goal in mind for the businesses to look more like pharmacies.
The chairman of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Committee, Bill Vailliencourt, reported that this may be a good idea with certain stipulations. Vailliencourt reported to WPBN,
“That’s something that is worthwhile looking into as long as the concerns for law enforcement and local government, and health departments are taken into account because there are a lot of serious issues for all of those entities.”
Callton’s legislation also allows each individual municipality to design their own specific regulations. This includes the option to dictate the number of distribution centers that can operate within the district, or the choice not to license any. This bill also bans the use of all forms of medical marijuana on distribution facility property.
The current medical marijuana law in Michigan does not allow patients to use any smokeless forms of the product, including edibles. This means that using dried medical marijuana flowers to make butter, oil, tinctures and the like, is illegal. The second bill, introduced by representative Lyons, addresses this issue.
Lyons’ legislation would expand the list of allowable forms to include those that are not smoke-able. Many medical marijuana patients are not able to or just prefer not to smoke the plant, but there is no other option under the current laws in Michigan.
Other members of the Michigan Legislature have, so far, responded positively to these bills. Representative Callton believes that this is because of the verbiage of the bills. He explained,
“People traditionally think of marijuana as a liberal issue. This is a conservative bill that provides for local control. Furthermore, this isn’t a criminal matter. It’s a health care issue.”
Representative Lyons pointed out that on top of that, it is important that all medical marijuana patients be able to access the form of medicine that will best treat their individual condition. She told WPBN,
“The bottom line here is that we need to implement common-sense measures to ensure patients have safe access to medicinal marijuana. Additionally, we badly need to provide for alternative forms of medicinal marijuana because smoking may not be the most effective or healthy choice for patients, especially children. It is absurd that patients and parents face prosecution for using a method that best meets their medical needs, and we need to fix it.”
Both bills are anticipated to earn support when they are introduced to the House this week because they help to close some loopholes that many politicians are unsatisfied with under the current laws.
photo credit: theunboundspirit