Mich. legislators propose pharmacy marijuana sales

Five years after Michigan voters legalized marijuana use for medical purposes, lawmakers say it's time the drug is brought into the fold of the health care industry so patients can buy it at their corner pharmacy.
AP Wire
Nov 11, 2013

A bill approved last week by a Senate committee would pave the way for the production and sale of "pharmaceutical-grade" cannabis. The measure essentially would create a second medical pot system in the state, one that proponents say would not interfere with the existing law under which patients can grow their own pot or obtain it from caregivers.

"Marijuana, if it's to be medical marijuana, should be held to the standard of medical safety, dosage predictability," said Sen. Roger Kahn, a Saginaw Township Republican and cardiologist. "Our medical marijuana (law) does neither of those. Yet it uses the word 'medical' predominantly or prominently in its claims."

Kahn is sponsoring legislation, now pending on the Senate floor, to move marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug in the same category as heroin and other drugs with no accepted medical use to a Schedule 2 drug like cocaine and morphine that are addictive but also used for medicinal purposes. The reclassification could not occur without federal approval.

Such a reclassification would lay the groundwork for pharmacies to dispense marijuana. The legislation would allow doctors to recommend that patients be issued "enhanced" cannabis cards differing from those now carried by 129,000 residents.

To get a card, the patient could not have been convicted of a drug offense, would have to surrender his or her ID card issued under the existing law and be at least 18 years old. Suppliers and participating pharmacies would undergo annual inspections.

Critics of the bill include backers of the current system who are suspicious of efforts to "corporatize" marijuana growing. Prairie Plant Systems Inc., which has been the Canadian government's sole supplier of medical marijuana for 13 years, is lobbying for the legislation with help from former House Speaker Chuck Perricone. Its Michigan subsidiary, SubTerra, does plant research and manufacturing in a former Upper Peninsula copper mine and wants to grow marijuana there if it can secure various approvals.

"If you're able to grow in your basement there's no reason to go to Walmart," said Rick Thompson, spokesman for advocacy group Americans for Safe Access-Michigan, which fears future court rulings could effectively negate the current law and force people into the new system. "You have to eliminate home-based competition in order to get a large gross to be financially solvent. ... That's not what we voted for in 2008."

Legislators need only a regular majority to send the bill to Gov. Rick Snyder instead of three-fourths support in both the House and Senate to amend the 2008 law, he said.

Yet lawmakers are interested in learning more about operations such as Prairie Plant Systems.

Rep. Mike Callton, a Nashville Republican who introduced legislation in February to create marijuana dispensaries after the Michigan Supreme Court slammed the door on the shops, has said not everyone can grow marijuana or find caregivers and he is concerned about sick people not having access to the drug.

The state's marijuana law says people with certain illnesses, such as cancer or chronic pain, can possess up to 2.5 ounces of "usable" marijuana and keep up to 12 plants in a locked place. A caregiver also can provide marijuana to as many as five people.

Callton planned to visit Prairie Plant System's headquarters in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, on Friday to learn more and declined to comment on the Senate bill until returning.

Backers of a new system say they are concerned about safety, including whether pesticides are being used to grow marijuana. It's also prone to mildews and molds, though defenders of the caregiver-to-patient system say those concerns are overblown and home-grown marijuana is safe.

Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, a Monroe Republican and supporter of the legislation, said he is looking to find a more "reasonable and responsible" way to regulate medical marijuana and expressed concern about the drug ending up in the hands of teens who have no legitimate medical reason to use it.

"My concern isn't about an elderly person or a person that's got legitimate problems trying to gain some relief from that pain," he said. "For me, it's about the illegitimate use and the potential for not only a bad product that's not controlled but (it) also getting into the hands of people that are underage and aren't at the point in their lives where they should even be considering such a thing."

Online: Senate Bill 660: http://1.usa.gov/1bfTBmL

Comments

Creed Bratton

JUST THE MONEY HUNGRY POLITICIANS TRYING TO GET THEIR PHARMACEUTICAL FRIENDS MORE $$$$

DON'T WORRY THE STATE OF MICHIGAN WILL BE LEGALIZED BY 2016.

AtomicRooster

Colorado did and so did Washington State. These politicians give me a pain. Seems they've always got their money grubbing hands in everything. Bill Schuette and Gov. Snyder will be your BIGGEST roadblocks to deal with in full legalization I'm afraid. You can depend on it. It should be legalized straight across the board for medicinal & recreational usage. Why not ban alcohol instead? Far more dangerous than marijuana could ever hope to be. Tired of hearing right wingers saying that it is a gateway drug to harder drugs. Let's set the record straight. Marijuana is NOT a drug. It's an herb. The only thing marijuana leads to is the refrigerator. Go to any drug rehab clinic and you won't find anyone there trying to kick the marijuana habit. Alcohol is the most dangerous drug on the planet. Yes, alcohol is a DRUG. And yet WE made it legal. How does that work? Alcohol should of stayed in prohibition. Look at all the statistics of all the lives alcohol has destroyed and traffic fatalities but yet we let it remain LEGAL. It makes absolutely NO SENSE. LEGALIZE MARIJUANA NOW!! 75+ years of prohibition is enough.

bigdeal

Freakin greedy Republicans. This has been brought to you by the Canadian Pharmaceutical companies who just got this same proposal passed in Canada. Talk about your illegal aliens. Just like the wolf hunt, all smoke and screens. Teens will get it, the mold will kill you, bad potency - are all Republican lies just like the wolf hunt. Who can possibly believe these liars anymore?

LessThanAmused

Dangit...I can't tell if you're kidding, or if you're serious.

Hot toddy....I need more hot toddy!

tetrahydra

This is a seriously flawed piece of (crap) I mean legislation. I support moving cannabis to a schedule 2. However they must be high themselves if they think the feds will cooperate with them. Secondly Prairie Plant Systems grows probably the worst cannabis in the entire world. It is no secret that the "medical" grade cannabis they grow is akin to mexican brick. Basically it is very low quality. It is laughable to think that anyone will actually choose the the pharmacy cannabis over homegrown. So while these grimy politicians may think they are gonna capatalize, truth is the joke is on them.

gordbzz231

they do not listen, legalize marijuana and sell it over the counter, and tax the heck out of it, much like cigarettes, no need for pharmacies to get involved, forget about medical marijuana, that was a joke for i am concerned, lol, now everyone is medicated, back to the sixties

bigdeal

Ya, tax homegrown, a politician's dream come true. Are you one?

On your tax form...
#420. Did you grow any medical marijuana this year?
420a. How much in weight?
420b. Did you use all you grew?
420c. Did you sell, barter or in any way distribute your crop?

If you think this is not medicine, you must be drunk on legal liquor or high on legal pills! Check out page 20, the tweakies medibles...
http://issuu.com/sativamagazine/...

satire

Back to the Wall

So, are all of you finally admitting, through your opposition to giving marijuana equal billing as legitimate medicine for treatment of medical conditions, that the voters of the state of Michigan were fooled?

Are you now suggesting that the medical marihuana lobby was advocating the medical benefits of cannabis's as a means to full legalization?

If marijuana is a legitimate remedy to legitimate medical conditions, what is the opposition to regulating it like the legitimate medicine you claim(ed) it to be?

Don't get me wrong. I fully support anyone's right to indulge in whatever recreational drug use one wants to. Unregulated marijuana use will cause adverse effects, and remains in the body for up to 28 days with chronic use, but generally not harmful to the public at large if the user is kept in unskilled positions that require no executive mental function. If a janitor wants to sweep the floor while stoned, no problem.

Let the man keep you down. He likes it when you're stoned. You are easy to distract. Easy to control. You are flexible, non combative, and aquiescent when you are high. A pizza is all you need. A pizza and the teevee. You can have the remote. There has GOT TO BE American Gladiators reruns on somewhere. Enjoy them while your future is decided by the man in the 2500 dollar suit, the man in New York or Washington. The man who wants you stoned and pliable so he can tell you what you want.

Yeah, make it legal.

tetrahydra

You are so ignorant. If you really think the only people who use cannabis are janitors and unskilled laborers. Alcohol is for losers, it is poison.

Zegota

We must protect the use of Medical Marijuana for those who really truly need it, and more easier and legally affordable to obtain. If Marijuana today is too be publicly and professionally considered as Medically Beneficial? Then a legal acceptable and professionally written medical prescription by a Licensed Physician should be required to obtain any quantity of Medical Marijuana.
Obtaining Medical Marijuana from any local License Pharmacy would allow for a more practical distribution at affordable prices, including the quality and quantity. Something today, the consumer of Medical Marijuana surely does not have, except in very rare cases and they surely do deserve.
Today with the growing expansion of Obama Care, it is very likely that a majority of Consumers who could medically benefit from Medical Marijuana would be covered for there prescriptions. Obtaining a larger quantity of Medical Marijuana and at a much lower price,
making it much more accessible for those who truly do need it. Is this not a positive thing, not only for those who are suffering from pain, but also for the medical professional.
It is only a negative consequence, or a concern for those actors that are today destroying it for all those who truly need the benefits of Medical Marijuana. What is so bad about lower cost, higher quantity and better controlled quality of Medical Marijuana.
Individuals who are suffering with such things as Cancer for an example and are going thru Chemo can benefit, and/or those who today cannot find comfort from the many different opium base pain medicine.
This is the honest bottom line, and we can do so much better, and we must. Lets make the process of selling and marketing Medical Marijuana so that the quality, quantity and even the price can be professionally, logically and legally managed on behalf of the consumers, and not the suppliers.
If you do truly honestly need the benefits of good quality Medical Marijuana, then you too will agree, and if you don't. I would probably believe that it is because somewhere in the madness there are some very huge profits being made for you.

bigdeal

These are Republicans above, asking for more/bigger government. Ironic ain't it? I don't agree with you, and I am certainly not making a cent off medical marijuana. What a moronic statement. Marijuana cures cancer. look it up, educate yourself. See who the people are who are pushing this through. Your comment is senseless.

bigdeal

Break out of your ignorance and educate yourselves. MMMP dispensaries already test their products for mold, bugs and potency in accredited labs before distribution. The people with cards and growing are older and are your next door neighbors. This is all for money, if you can't see that, you are making nice profits in the business. (sarcastic reply to above post). Just legalize it. The MMMP program has turned quite a profit for MI Gubment in fees alone and all Republicans can see is opportunity $$$!!!

lakeshore12

Prairie Plant Systems only grows one strain and it is known to be very low quality. Here is a link to see for yourself. http://safeaccess.ca/pr/vics_pps...

Watchdog

Coming from experience breeding, growing, etc...Small scale breeders that care about quality genetics and medication will ALWAYS trump mass produced medicinal grows. Why? The care is simply NOT the same. The focus is $ not helping people, nor quality genetics...simply what will or will not sell. If this helps patients who don't have access, I'm for it...BUT if this infringes on what SHOULD be an inalienable right, to grow and consume your own medicine, I am against it...Either way, ya won't catch me paying top dollar for meds at the Rx...Peace

MR. WILLIAMS

Marijuana should be legal period! However, everyone wants their stake and rake in of cash it generates one way or the other. Politician's make or break their campaigns over this weed and the Federal Government is staking out every avenue that it takes or even may take as long as they somehow profit from it. Let's not forget the DEA and Law Enforcement and their "War on Drugs"! I wish they would simply come out say; The War on Drugs is can not be won. I prefer the format that some countries have adapted, which is providing a lot of education on the real facts on drugs and providing clean safe instruments to use some drugs with; instead of the "Reefer Madness" films and the approach that the U.S. Government insists is realistic by scaring and putting fear into people with misinformation and lies.

gordbzz231

I will state again, no need for marijuana to be controlled at the level they are proposing, if was legal and sold in some form where everyone could buy it, farmers or company s could grow the plants, they do grow vegetables and raise poultry and beef the same way where it would safe for resale, but there will always be people pushing some kind of cheap stuff, legal or not to make a fast buck, moonshine was once a big thing until they got control of it, but today the alcohol sales are pushed hard, why, because the state is making money and have no intention to stop it, legal, but still bad for you, pick your poison

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