How Will Medical Marijuana Program Work?

How Will Medical Marijuana Program Work?
Posted by CN Staff on November 20, 2008 at 06:16:24 PT
By Deb Merion for Ann Arbor Business Review
Source: Ann Arbor Business Review 
Michigan -- Now that a 63 percent majority of the Michigan voting public has given the green light to the green leaves of medical marijuana, the question is: how will the program work? Forget the misleading images of California-like "potshops" that were pictured on the website opposing the bill."The law says you can possess marijuana, you can grow marijuana, but doesn't tell you how you can acquire the drug legally," said James McCurtis, spokesperson for Michigan Department of Mental Health, which will administer the medical marijuana program.
If obtaining the drug is still a puzzling dilemma for those who qualify, it's a purposeful one: to avoid the criticism levied at the public sale of medical marijuana in California dispensaries. Patients can also light up in dispensaries there, but Michigan's law prohibits the drug from being used publicly.Dianne Byrum, spokeswoman for the support group Michigan Coalition for Compassionate Care and a Michigan state legislator for 10 years, disputes concerns about the law's vague language expressed in an Ann Arbor News editorial against Proposal 1 on October 24."Michigan's law is very limited, well structured, well written, and mirrors the law in the 11 states that approved medical marijuana after California," said Byrum.Those states are Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.It will take until approximately May 1 after numerous public hearings to see exactly how the Michigan law gets implemented, but much is known now.The major effect of the medical marijuana law will be to put a registry ID card in the hand of medical marijuana users or their caregivers, which will make them immune from arrest. To get their card, patients will first need to visit their doctor."These are seriously ill patients, getting chemotherapy, or with HIV, AIDS or multiple sclerosis," said Byrum.For those too nauseous from chemotherapy to keep down pills or food, it is easy to see how a drug that is smoked and builds the appetite (Cheech and Chong might call it "getting the munchies") could be a lifesaver."A doctor can't write a prescription for marijuana. What are you going to do; take it to Walgreen's? All he can do is write a recommendation, and the patient takes that certified document and sends it to us to accept or deny," said McCurtis."Once the department receives it, it will have five days to approve or deny the application. If approved, the user gets a card, and also gets entered into the state database of approved users," said McCurtis.Caregivers for the infirm can also receive a card, and a caregiver can have cards for a maximum of five people.Registered users will be permitted to grow up to 12 marijuana plants and possess not more than 2.5 ounces.Concerns that sick patients will go to work under the influence of the drug are covered in the law as well."Nothing in the law will require that an employer accommodate an employee under the influence," said Byrum.Patient registration fees will cover the program's financial burden on the Michigan Department of Community Health. In other states, those fees are $50-$75 per individual. The fee for Michigan patients is being determined in the next few months.For patients already using marijuana, the cost of registration will likely be a small price to pay to eliminate the fear of arrest.Debbie Merion writes about health in Ann Arbor. Complete Title: Now That Vote Is In, How Will Medical Marijuana Program Work?Source: Ann Arbor Business Review (MI)Author: Debbie MerionPublished: November 20, 2008Copyright: 2008 Michigan Live LLC.Contact: demerion aol.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Stop Arresting Patients Legal Marijuana Poses Pot Puzzle 1's Implications Unclear, Concern Some
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on November 23, 2008 at 06:16:45 PT
Medicinal Marijuana OK, But The Critics Persist
November 23, 2008
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on November 20, 2008 at 08:07:05 PT
Editorial: Medical Marijuana is Worth Study
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