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Monday, February 20, 2012

Michigan Legislators seek to water down the Michigan Medical Marijuana law by proposing costly and dangerous changes to the language.

By. Richard C. Clement

On Feb. 23 a scheduled hearing in Room 519 of the House Office Building headed by Reps. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, and Phil Cavanaugh, D-Redford Township. The meeting will focus on the bipartisan work on Michigan’s Medical Marijuana law.  This will include a presentation by the group to address the proposed changes.

The result of this meeting has generated four bills if enacted into a law, will increase the prison population,  bog down law enforcement resources and, add needless regulation to undermine the wishes of the people.    This meeting will attempt to address the horrendous backlog of 6 months to one year for processing applicants to the program.  Currently caregivers have to wait one year to receive a card in the mail.  New and renewal applicants have to wait up to 7 months for their physical card to arrive in the mail. 

Medical Marijuana card mailed on it's expiration date
The only explanation for this is insubordination by the Department of Licensing and Regulation management in timely processing of applications and the acquisition of resources to properly address the demand.   This program has been existence for over 3 years and as of this date, the turnaround time is getting longer by the week with no relief in sight.  Instead of serving the public as required, these employees are serving themselves through substandard use of technology and ambivalence toward the participants in the program.   If the Department of Treasury can process mailed in tax forms (Schedule 1040, Tax Credits, etc.) in 6 weeks, then the Michigan Medical Marijuana program can do better with just 3 forms to process. We have documented proof to show that a caregiver got his physical card one year to the day they applied for it. The card was expired when it arrived to the caregiver in the mail.  

House Bill 4834 is a measure requiring photo ID for registered patients and limited access by law enforcement to the medical marihuana registry; (Click Here for a full copy of the bill)

 A solution to this problem is to amend House Bill 4834 to require a timely turnaround of a maximum 20 days for a card to be in the possession of an applicant as mandated by law.  Information sharing shall be monitored by the Auditor General to insure that the Department of State Police does not receive medical information but, just enough information to say that the card is valid or not. 
(State of California Online Card Validation Link)
House Bill 4851 is a piece of legislation requiring a bona fide doctor-patient relationship to end the current practice of doctors certifying patients without even seeing the patients in person. (Click Here for a full copy of this bill)

On the surface House Bill 4851 looks legit until you compare internet use by other licensed professionals such as Judges in Ingham County and 54-A district court in Lansing.  If 54-A District Court Judge Hugh Clarke can sit at the bench with a cup of coffee, watch prisoners on TV, and send people to jail, then the internet doctors shall be afforded the same protection under the law.   Doctors have medical records online already so this is just a matter of using common sense.

House Bill 4853 is a piece of legislation amending sentencing guidelines consistent with the MMMA. (Click Here for a full copy of 4853)

By far House Bill 4853 is the most outrageous and dangerous bill ever conceived by the Michigan Legislature.  If this bill is enacted into law, the simple act of handing a marihuana cigarette to another person that is also a patient will earn up to 2 years in prison with a felony conviction.  This will guarantee an immediate rise in the number of citizens incarcerated in the Michigan prison system with the increased cost to go with it. Send an email to Rep. John Walsh and Rep. Phil Cavanaugh and tell them to remove all references to Marihuana in this bill.

House Bill 4856 a bill that is an attempt to circumvent the current Michigan Medical Marijuana law by defining the "appropriate" transport of medical marihuana. (Click here for a full reading of bill 4856)
House Bill 4856 and the word clarification shall not be used in the same sentence. If this bill becomes law a patient would have to carry their medicine in a lock-box in the trunk of the car just like their pistol.  A violation of this law will earn you a 90+ day in jail sentence, $100 fine and a misdemeanor conviction. Despite the implications of impairment under the influence of Marijuana, there are NO current studies and factual evidence that can compare the degree of impairment based on the amount of Marijuana in a person’s system.  Groups like Myth Busters often run with their heads tucked between their tails when a test of this magnitude was suggested.   A legitimate study sponsored and supported by organizations such as NORML, Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), and others will put this myth to rest. 

We the people hired these politicians with our vote and we can fire them with our vote also.  Doing a recall drive is a strong message to let your elected official know that if you continue to disregard the bi-partisan majority of Michigan voters now, you will pay for it in August and September.  Please be aware that all 83 county prosecutors and county sheriffs are up for re-election in the fall.  Furthermore the redrawing of political maps has subjected these same individuals to the pitfalls/benefits of redistricting.  If you support the Michigan Medical Marijuana law then you should do the following:

1.      Find out who is running for the new districts in the August primaries and the November general election. 

2.      Contact via email and phone State Representative John Walsh (R-Livonia) and Phil Cavanaugh (D-Redford Township) and let them know that you are a constituent that supports Marijuana reform in Michigan and tell them to vote no on House Bills 4851, 4853, and 4856.   Vote to amend House Bill 4834 to address the one year backlog by the Department of Licensing and Regulation in the processing of applications to the Michigan Medical Marihuana program.

3.      Inform your county prosecutor and county sheriff that you will vote for their removal in November if any of these bills becomes law.

Your voice needs to be heard loud and clear in Lansing and the time is now.  Make sure to sign the petition to repeal prohibition at a location near you.  Please refer to the website  to get a location to sign a petition to repeal prohibition.  Time is of the essence and it is time to make your stand.  We are the %63 percent and it is time to represent.  Vote green in 2012 for pro-cannabis candidates in August and November.

 Contact Info:
Rep. John Walsh (Website Info)
Rep. Ken Horn (Website Info)
Rep. Phil Cavanaugh (Website Info) - Good Stuff on the Internet