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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

State officials to re-appear before House Oversight Committee to answer questions regarding the Medical Marijuana Program on 4/15/2010

The Friends of Cushingberry
March 30, 2010

On April 15, 2010, administrators from the Departments of State Police, Information Technology, and Community Health will be testifying before an Intergovernmental and Oversight committee of the House of Representatives at the State Capitol in Lansing MI. They will be compelled to answer questions, complaints, and concerns regarding participation in the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program. One of the major issues is that patients are being arrested by City, County, and State police officers and their medicine confiscated. Law enforcement officials are confused on the issue of a person’s status in the program based on a Xerox copy of an application. This document can be easily forged and is very impractical because of its size.

What happens next is beyond belief and an embarrassment to the citizens of the State. When a person is arrested, the arresting agency has to call between the hours of 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday. A good example of this is if you arrested at 5:01PM on a Friday, you have to wait until Monday morning until you are “verified” with a phone call as a valid participant in the program. Your weekend is all screwed up and any plans that you had that week are forever changed.

The law specifically states that after 20 days a person’s application is deemed valid if there are no anomalies and paperwork is properly filed. The wait up to 120 days for a card is basically un-acceptable and must be dealt with immediately. Currently some local law enforcement agencies have the ability retrieve information in their squad cars about the driver such as: warrants, status in the 7411 diversion program, and the lien holder of the car.

David Newman legislative liaison of the Department of Information Technology will answer to the committee regarding improving this current debacle in the bureaucracy. According to Mr. Newman no request for help was ever received from the Department of Community Health. He also admitted that the Department of Community Health has only one printer for the cards. When he was asked why is that printer not running 24/7 there was no answer.

The issue of privatization of the process will be addressed at this hearing. The State of Michigan’s Information Technology Department is a hodge-podge collection of contractors and consultants that the taxpayers support. These contracts are necessary because the agency’s employees do not have the time, money or ability to do the job.

Scofes Consulting Inc. has a program that can be quickly implemented to relieve the backlog in processing. The owner Stephen G. Scofes has stated that this program is already being used in California and, can be implemented in Michigan. The ultimate goal is to process the cards as fast as or faster than the Secretary of State, the gold standard in information processing for a government agency. Given the urgency of the situation it appears that Scofes has the answer to the problem. His company may qualify for a no-bid contract if they can perform the following tasks in a timely manner.

The bid will be based on the following parameters:
1. Registration of patients and caregivers via a secure web page to MDCH.
2. The processing of cards within the 20 day period including renewals.

The Department of Information Technology and Scofes will be asked to demonstrate how this proposed system will be implemented and maintained. If Mr. Scofes can demonstrate that his company can implement the system by April 20, 2010 @ 4:20AM, he will have earned the honor of being awarded a contract to perform that service for 2 years from the date of acceptance. If the demonstration shows that these participants can’t do the job, the process will be put out to a bid for the general public. When this bid is let out, there will be a required demonstration before a panel of committee members, department officials, and private citizens who have a vested interest in the process.

MDCH officials will answer to the committee regarding the status of the review board(PA 368 of the Public Health Code of 1978). According to the law there is a requirement for a 15 member board to review requests for additional qualifying conditions. As of March 30, 2010 there have been NO members selected and NO meetings scheduled.

Some of the questions the committee will ask are:
1.What is the delay in appointing this board(SOAHR Adm Rule 333.131)
2.What is the department doing to address the appointment of members to this board?
3.The benefit of allowing a private company to manage the Medical Marijuana Information System?
4.How can the MMJ program assist in sharing information with local law enforcement regarding a patient’s status in the program?
5.What is the cost savings to the taxpayers by storing additional information on the microchip of the enhanced driver’s license from the Secretary of State? Printing ONE card instead of two.

These questions and others from the committee and the public will be asked to these agencies. If you have additional questions that you want asked by the committee please leave it as a comment to this article. These questions will be compiled by Rep. Cushingberrys staff for review by the committee. If there are duplicate questions, they will be combined to address the main idea being expressed by the commenter.

Rep. Cushingberry appreciates the input from the following organizations: Americans for Safe Access(ASA), Michigan Medical Marijuana Educational and Defense Organization(3MED), Michigan Medical Marijuana Association(3MA), Michigan Chapter of the National Association for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (MI-NORML). Also appreciated is the Michigan Departments of Community Health, and Information Technology to improve the system for Michigan citizens. The ending result will be a system that will address the needs and wants of its customers. Government can work for the benefit of the people when the citizens provide positive and rational input to be reviewed, analyze, and implemented to the satisfaction of all sides of the issue.


philanthropy said...

can members of the public attend this meeting if desired?

on the committee's calendar they do not show these as being scheduled events on their calendar...

is the website just not up to date?

can members of the public speak, have their opinions heard by those who serve us on the committee board?

Anonymous said...


When the meeting happens it will show up on this link. The meeting is not there yet....

And yes members of the public can attend. You can speak too if there is time. The best way is to send an email with the MMJ or a bill number in the subject line.

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nigel said...

Is this thing happening today or what.\?.Been waiting 5 months still no card, Seriously this is criminal.

Friends of George Cushingberry said...

Nigel, It did not happen today. The State Police and the Department of Community Health have yet to show up. They will have to show up within the next two weeks... Please send an email to your State Rep venting your displeasure regarding the time in processing cards. - Good Stuff on the Internet