Proposed State Med Pot Rules Rile Users

  Proposed State Med Pot Rules Rile Users

Posted by CN Staff on January 06, 2009 at 09:49:27 PT
By Gary Heinlein, Detroit News Lansing Bureau 
Source: Detroit News 

Lansing, MI -- State officials are proposing overly restrictive rules that would undo the intent of compassionate medical marijuana law that voters approved in November, backers of the new measure claim.At a hearing Monday on proposed rules to govern medical marijuana use, supporters especially objected to requirements that patients and caregivers keep inventories of the marijuana grown for medical use.
Some said a tentative rule against public use could mean patients would face prosecution for smoking pot on their front porches, or in their living rooms with the drapes open.Others said proposed security requirements for medical marijuana would mean the state is putting tighter restrictions on pot than on more dangerous prescription drugs, such as the pain reliever OxyContin that patients routinely keep in their medicine cabinets."It seems to me you are attempting an end-run of what the people wanted and voted for," said Ken Shapiro of East Lansing, who uses marijuana for metastatic melanoma that, he said, has afflicted him for 31 years.Shapiro said he has been through radiation, chemotherapy and more than 50 surgeries for the spreading cancer."Marijuana helped me get through it," he said. "It should be taken for granted that seriously ill people are not dealing drugs."While the new medical marijuana law technically is in effect now, the state health department is drafting rules to govern its use. Department officials, who want to finalize the rules by April 4, held Monday's hearing to give voice to those who'd be affected.The new law allows patients with cancer, HIV, AIDS, glaucoma and other diseases to use marijuana to relieve symptoms on a doctor's recommendation.Under the proposed rules, those qualified to grow and use marijuana would have to register yearly and be issued registration cards that could be revoked for criminal use or sales. Registered medical producers could supply no more than five patients each, and possess no more than 12 mature plants and 2.5 ounces of marijuana per patient. The plants and packets of drug would have to be kept in enclosed, locked facilities.A potential producer said the health department's proposed disclosure and paperwork requirements would create a paper trail that could expose him to federal prosecution. Under federal law, any marijuana use or sale remains a crime."I won't follow the rules as they are now; I'll just keep growing marijuana as I have been," said Tom Higgins of Bay City, who said he cultivates marijuana and uses it because he believes it has kept him from dying of hepatitis.Karen O'Keefe, state policies director for the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy project, said 12 other medical marijuana states don't require restrictions like those proposed for Michigan.Voters approved appropriate safeguards "without requiring self-incrimination or making life overly difficult for the seriously ill patients whom 63 percent of Michigan voters chose to allow to use medical marijuana without fearing arrest," she said.Desmond Mitchell, a State Bureau of Health Professions policy analyst who conducted the hearing, said officials "will review everything and take a look at what revisions need to be made" in the proposed rules.Source: Detroit News (MI)Author: Gary Heinlein, Detroit News Lansing BureauPublished: Tuesday, January 6, 2009Copyright: 2009 The Detroit News Contact: letters Website: URL: Articles:Medical Marijuana Rules Called a Burden on Police Questions Proposed Rules on Marijuana

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Comment #34 posted by Hope on January 08, 2009 at 01:12:13 PT
Comment 32
Well, we know what happens when authorities and prohibitionists are told by the people to lay down the weapons and the handcuffs when dealing with cannabis. Suddenly their panties are in a fearful wad and they can't get past that affliction for fear of letting go the weapons and cuffs.
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Comment #33 posted by Hope on January 08, 2009 at 00:48:08 PT
Comment 29 E_Johnson
Whoo hoo!! That's wonderful to hear!
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Comment #32 posted by FoM on January 07, 2009 at 16:35:54 PT
Medical Marijuana Rules Go Too Far, Critics Say
 By Todd A. HeywoodJanuary 7, 2009The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is one step closer to finalizing rules for a state medical marijuana registry.Officials held a hearing Monday on proposed rules for administering the new list. But critics say the rules violate the spirit and letter of the voter-approved medical marijuana law and raise civil rights concerns.“The [voter-approved] act gives the [Community Health] department a very limited role to perform very limited functions: simply to take applications, process them and issue or deny the cards,” said Greg Francisco, executive director of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association.“Instead [the proposed] rules seem to have taken on this role of investigatory or law-enforcement duty for the department, which is inappropriate and not consistent with the law itself.”The registry is part of a law passed by voters in November making the use of marijuana legal in Michigan for certain medical conditions, like HIV infection, AIDS, glaucoma and others. The law mandates that MDCH create identification cards for qualified users and growers, to be implemented by April 4.Among the rules contested at the Monday meeting were a mandate that medical marijuana be kept locked up and accessible only to qualified patients. Advocates say this rule would interfere with the seriously disabled and the dying, and keep them from having access to the marijuana, because their caregivers would not legally be allowed to access the drug. The law passed in November only mandates that plants being grown be kept under lock and key, advocates point out.Also disputed was a rule that would make it improper to smoke marijuana in “any place visible to the public.” Critics say this wording could be taken to mean that a person who fires up a joint in front of a living room window, for example, would be liable for charges and have his or her ID card revoked.In addition, patients and advocates expressed concern about patients’ privacy. Rules mandate that patients identify the other patients of a caregiver licensed under the act, thus forcing caregivers to violate the confidentiality of their clients. Under the current proposal, advocates believe patients would be required to ask for patient lists from their caregivers. It would also mandate the identification of doctors who are prescribing the marijuana.The rules also include a verification process that would allow the Medical Marijuana Program to contact the Social Security Administration to verify if a low-income patient was on Medicaid or receiving Social Security benefits.The Michigan State Police (MSP) appeared at the hearing Monday to register its own concerns about another rule that would require unused marijuana left over after a patient was cured or passed away to be turned over to law enforcement.“Our department doesn’t want anything to do with taking medical marijuana from anyone,” MSP Inspector Greg Zarotney told the hearing. “It is burdensome on law enforcement.”Zarotney also asked that information from the registry be accessible through the Law Enforcement Information Network, which would allow officers to identify the name, address and date of birth of those who were legally in possession of a valid ID card. Advocates said that goes too far, arguing that the law only allows law enforcement to verify the validity of the card, which has a unique number assigned to it.Advocates expressed frustration with the proposed rules Monday.Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the nonprofit Marijuana Policy Project, submitted a lengthy written testimony with 22 proposed changes to the rules. O’Keefe was also the principal drafter of the law, which appeared on the November ballot as Proposition 1. In her written testimony, she said:“Voters enacted Proposal 1 as written. They were satisfied with its safeguards, which were carefully considered and are working well in other states, like Rhode Island. The department’s role now is to implement the law, not to rewrite it.”Francisco said the MDCH proposals suggest an apprehension and uncertainty on the state’s part as to how to implement the new law.“I believe it is fear. The department is afraid of the unknown,” said Francisco. “I don’t believe they are acting out of malice. I don’t believe they are trying to stifle the program, but I believe that they just don’t know and they are trying to cover the worst-case scenario.”James McCurtis, spokesperson for the MDCH, said the department would carefully consider all the testimony and plans to issue final rules by April 4.
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Comment #31 posted by FoM on January 07, 2009 at 15:12:06 PT
EJ That's Really Nice
The workings of nature are amazing.
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Comment #30 posted by E_Johnson on January 07, 2009 at 14:29:41 PT
I'm rich in bees and hummingbirds
It's like being blessed.
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Comment #29 posted by E_Johnson on January 07, 2009 at 14:27:01 PT
I'll go to a happier subject
I was afraid of the honeybee shortage because I have a lovely lemon tree that is a good producer and needs pollination every spring. And today the exterminator told us that the buzzing insects who have colonized a hole in our garden wall are bees, not wasps.I feel like building a shrine. I guess that's how ancient people felt. Happy when some well-behaved wild bees moved in and went to work in their yard.
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Comment #28 posted by FoM on January 07, 2009 at 12:06:14 PT
Thank you. Hopefully he won't be the drug czar then.
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Comment #27 posted by E_Johnson on January 07, 2009 at 11:47:13 PT
That man FoM
He'd put cancer patients in jail, he said so.
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Comment #26 posted by FoM on January 07, 2009 at 09:29:04 PT
Don Vereen 
I never jumped on the drug czar bandwagon since I just don't know who Obama will pick. I don't know who Don Vereen is.
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Comment #25 posted by E_Johnson on January 07, 2009 at 09:07:35 PT
Probably Don Vereen
Ramstad is probably out by now, and since Don Vereen is the head of that transition team, he will be the most likely candidate.I am steeling myself for that eventually.Maybe we should all go take a nap so we can be fresh on the battlefield if it's Don Vereen.
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Comment #24 posted by FoM on January 07, 2009 at 06:14:31 PT
Sinsemilla Jones
I think like you. It could be worse. I really like Obama and he is smart and sensitive too. I got upset because Gupta said no to marijuana but he praised it too. I don't think he knows much about how it is to live like most people do but he can learn. I get more upset when people want to blow off Obama before he even gets to be our new President. If people judged our actions as harshly as some people judge Obama's we would dig a hole and climb in it and hide. I personally withdraw from aggressive people since it causes me so much stress. Life is too darn short to spend time hating like some people do. I don't understand that way of thinking. 
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Comment #23 posted by Hope on January 07, 2009 at 05:30:06 PT
Sensemilla Jones
Good scenario. I like it.Remember the study about the birds that ate cannabis seeds were more likely to be able to find food in new places than the birds that didn't?We, like those birds, no matter how bleak the situation looks, can find our way through this new maze to our goal, no doubt.Our efforts against all odds kind of bring to mind those feisty mice in the study that researchers taped their tails to a bar. (That's a funny unintended pun). The cannabis fed critters didn't give up trying to get loose as soon as the non-cannabis fed critters did. :0)
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Comment #22 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on January 07, 2009 at 01:50:17 PT
Actually, it could have been a whole lot worse....
It could have been someone like Bill Frist, Andrea Barthwell, or some NIDA neanderthal under McCain.At least Dr. S.G. won't be trying to ban abortion, and I bet he does his best to just avoid saying anything about marijuana, pro or con, medical or otherwise.And it would be hard to argue that he wouldn't be useful in selling a national health care plan to the public and thus to Congress.At this point, my little fantasy is that sometime this summer, after the first round of Obama getting his key people confirmed and economic legislation passed, and Bill Richardson has been cleared of any wrong doing, perhaps BHO will just be getting around to appointing a new Drug Czar, and there will be NM's BR available and ready to reform something.
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Comment #21 posted by The GCW on January 06, 2009 at 21:58:41 PT
I believe I understand what You’re describing: “send the right message to children about drugs”We all (C-Newser’s) know and understand that myth, propaganda…It’s time to bust that myth!The RIGHT message to children is something different from what government has been dictating. It's important to bust that bull.-0-US MS: PUB LTE: Legalize pot to fight methWebpage: Pubdate: 4 Jan. 2009 - Source: Vicksburg Post (MS)Referred: pot to fight methIn response to the editorial of Dec. 28, “Meth is a nightmare that won’t go away,” Government is partly responsible for America’s high addiction rates to honest hard drugs like methamphetamine, cocaine and heroin, due to its discredited prohibition of cannabis (marijuana).The question isn’t if, but rather what percentage of America’s drug problem is due to prohibiting the relatively safe, socially acceptable, God-given plant cannabis?How many youths and adults try cannabis and realize it’s not nearly as harmful as taught in government environments? Then they think other substances must not be so bad either, only to become addicted to deadly drugs.Prohibiting cannabis, which is safer than beer, wine or whiskey, places the plant’s sales in the hands of the same people who often sell highly addictive and deadly substances, which undoubtedly causes increased addiction rates.Cannabis even has a history of helping people escape hard drug addictions, which makes it valuable; that’s an argument for it’s legalization in itself.Stan WhiteDillon, Colo.-0-US MA: PUB LTE: New Pot Law Should Bring Truthful Awareness "...One important component of Massachusetts' Question 2 ( "Safety group maps plan for tackling new pot law," The Times, Jan. 2 ), will come in the form of a more honest "drug awareness program" that will lower hard drug addiction rates..." "...The federal government even classifies cannabis as a Schedule I substance along with heroin, while methamphetamine and cocaine are only Schedule II substances. For the health and welfare of America's children, that absolutely must change...." US ME: PUB LTE: DARE Fails Partly Because It Teaches Half-Truths BC: PUB LTE: Studies Show DARE a Complete Failure  "...Whether or not DARE is effective at keeping youth away from harmful substances doesn't matter to police - it helps increase union dues for law enforcement agencies who cry when DARE programs are threatened to end because of things like budget cuts..." 
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on January 06, 2009 at 21:21:30 PT
You probably are right on that one too.
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Comment #19 posted by E_Johnson on January 06, 2009 at 20:50:14 PT
But he's also very PC FoM
He's extremely politically correct, which fits in with his ambition and place at CNN. That means he'd probably rather "send the right message to children about drugs" than be upfront and honest about marijuana research.
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on January 06, 2009 at 20:45:03 PT
When I think about it  Joycelyn Elders is the only one I remember. Maybe Gupta won't be so bad. He doesn't seem mean spirited just superficial but he is a CNN news person.
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Comment #17 posted by Hope on January 06, 2009 at 20:02:36 PT
I was trying to think...
Who is the Surgeon General now? It seems odd that I didn't know. We don't even have one. We have an acting one.Rear Admiral Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H. is the Acting Attorney General.And, according to Google, you can get a "low price" on a Surgeon General at Amazon.Com, too.
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on January 06, 2009 at 19:57:40 PT
EJ and Hope
EJ, It really does sound right. The brain is just one part of complex human beings. He will learn fast when I think about it. He doesn't seem like a bad person just very superficial.Hope, I just looked around and maybe this link will help you.
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Comment #15 posted by E_Johnson on January 06, 2009 at 19:44:49 PT
It's what nurses have told me.
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on January 06, 2009 at 19:41:54 PT
Can individual citizens register
formal objections or have questions addressed to an appointment the President wants to make to his cabinet? Like about Gupta, for instance.
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on January 06, 2009 at 19:10:43 PT
That makes sense to me.
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Comment #12 posted by E_Johnson on January 06, 2009 at 19:07:48 PT
Oops typo
Preparation is for humans. Surgeons are gods.That's his weakness. He'll be easy to debate because he won't prepare. He'll expect everyone to believe him because he's a surgeon and surgeons are gods.
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Comment #11 posted by E_Johnson on January 06, 2009 at 19:05:50 PT
But at least he's a weak adversary
He has a giant ego and feelings of omnipotence, which are the type of character flaws most found among successful surgeons, especially ones who get their own shows on TV. That means anything he says about medical marijuana is going to come off the top of his head. he won't be humble enough to prepare for it. Preparation is for humans. Surgeons and gods.So he'll be an easy target every time he starts opening his mouth about pot.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on January 06, 2009 at 16:04:20 PT
We aren't screwed but we will be challenged. The Scotch-Irish in me can rear up very easily over his appointment.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on January 06, 2009 at 16:02:16 PT
Sinsemilla Jones 
Drew Pinsky is another person I wouldn't give the time of day. 
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Comment #8 posted by HempWorld on January 06, 2009 at 16:01:11 PT
Gupta is hostile and/thus completely ignorant
about cannabis.We are screwed, to top things off, Sanjay has zero compassion.He is a sterile, clinical mouthpiece of his employers; the pharmaceutical industry.
On a mission from God!
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on January 06, 2009 at 15:58:17 PT
Sinsemilla Jones
I really don't like Gupta. I turn the channel when he is on CNN. Maybe he will not take the position since I believe he is linked to big pharm. That won't help us or anyone in my opinion.
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Comment #6 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on January 06, 2009 at 15:54:13 PT
I guess it could have been worse....
He could have picked Drew Pinsky.I think the same thing that keeps doctors like Dean Edell, Andrew Weil, and Lester Grinspoon off TV is what blocks their consideration as Surgeon General - honesty.But I doubt any doctor could surpass Gupta and Pinsky in their apparent talents at self-promotion.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on January 06, 2009 at 15:34:26 PT

I am very happy we don't have McCain. I never thought that Obama would be pro drug legalization or anything like that. I voted for him because of the need to fix the VA's health care system and do more in social services and general health care. I only have a few more years until I can get help with medicare and I hope I can continue to treat myself and it continues to work. My youngest niece has been treated under the current system for NSCLC and it has been disgraceful. 4 chemos when they said she needed 13 and no explanation as to why. The doctor just said he's done. That's it.  If you have good insurance you are treated with respect. 
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Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on January 06, 2009 at 15:09:01 PT

Again Obama falls short of centrist Clinton, who picked Jocelyn Elders.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on January 06, 2009 at 14:10:08 PT

I feel sorry for people who are have a weight problem if he gets the appointment. Soon they will have a organization for people who are overweight. Maybe they'll call it the Bureau of Sugar, Butter and Fun Food. Had to add some humor there.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on January 06, 2009 at 14:01:23 PT

I guess he might be the next Surgeon General. I remember watching him say that grain fed beef is healthier then grass fed beef. That is not true. Grain fed beef get all the stuff they put in grains but grass is natural. Grass fed beef don't get as big but that is the only short coming. He seems to believe in pharmaceuticals as the answer more then he doesn't. I guess he'll be ok but Dr. Grinspoon would have been someone I wish would have gotten the job.Why I Would Vote No On Pot,9171,1552034,00.html
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Comment #1 posted by E_Johnson on January 06, 2009 at 13:59:59 PT

Sanjay Gupta the new Surgeon General
Oi vey the news keeps getting worse.
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