Agencies Prepare for Marijuana as Medicine

††Agencies Prepare for Marijuana as Medicine

Posted by CN Staff on March 15, 2009 at 06:03:52 PT
By Scott Davis, Lansing State Journal†
Source: Lansing State Journal†

Michigan -- Lynn Allen admits he doesn't have a green thumb, but he's a quick learner. For months, the Williamston man has studied books and Web sites on marijuana growing tips, and in early April, he expects to place high intensity lamps in a bedroom closet to light a handful of flowerpots containing cannabis seeds.In four months, the 52-year-old said, he should have a harvest of marijuana to help him deal with chronic pain from hemophilia and HIV, which he contracted from a tainted blood transfusion.
"It'll be the right time for spring planting," Allen said of the April launch.There's change blooming in Michigan, and marijuana advocates estimate as many as 50,000 people may be using medicinal marijuana within two years under a new law set to be implemented April 6.State officials now are doing a final review of the rules related to using medicinal marijuana. In November, Michigan voters overwhelmingly passed a ballot measure to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes.Advocates expect 500 people to apply the first week, beginning April 6. State officials say they don't know what to expect."We have no idea who would want to use medical marijuana," said James McCurtis, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Community Health, which is administering the effort. "We are going to be ready."  'A Very New Process'  Given the newness of the initiative - legalizing medical use of a drug that the state has criminalized for many decades - both advocates and state health officials are anticipating some road bumps with its rollout."This is a very new process," McCurtis said. "When you do something new, there is always a chance that some glitches will happen. We will keep those to a minimum."Greg Francisco, executive director of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, said he expects the biggest problems for pain sufferers will be finding doctors willing to recommend marijuana use and confusion from police officers as they educate themselves about the new law.Under the new law, applicants must submit statements from doctors certifying that their patient fits the criteria to use marijuana, which include suffering from cancer, HIV, Crohn's disease or other conditions involving chronic pain."People are having trouble finding doctors, and that's one of the functions of this organization - to help find them doctors," Francisco said. "There are a few doctors willing to do the assessment. Many are afraid. It's the unknown." Enforcing The Law  Similarly, he said, law enforcement agencies still are trying to educate themselves about the new law and to determine the conditions under which marijuana can be seized. Under the law, authorized users can possess 2.5 ounces of marijuana and 12 marijuana plants for personal use; caregivers, authorized by the state to provide the marijuana, can possess a similar amount for each patient, up to five persons. Users and caregivers must keep all marijuana under lock and key.State officials have acknowledged there are some gray areas in the new law, including whether authorized users can live within 1,000 feet of a school, or a "drug-free zone," and whether landlords can evict someone for using medicinal marijuana."Nobody quite knows what the law is," Francisco said. "The police are timid about this because they don't know. They are proceeding very cautiously. They don't want to get sued."Eaton County Prosecutor Jeffrey Sauter said he recently has conducted training sessions on medicinal marijuana with police agencies, along with other legal issues, to keep confusion to a minimum.Sauter said the new law could present "interesting challenges" in enforcement, especially if the number of qualified medicinal marijuana users reaches 50,000 statewide, as advocates predict."It may be some major changes for the officers," Sauter said. "The biggest thing will be a claim (of being an authorized user or caregiver), but they don't have the card. Once they see the card, it should be fairly clear." Growing It  Francisco said one flaw in the new law is a lack of an official distribution system for marijuana. Patients can't go to a pharmacy to buy it; they must either grow the marijuana themselves or acquire it from an authorized caregiver."It could be better if there was some kind of distribution system," said Francisco, noting marijuana can be a tricky plant to grow. "We would like to (eventually) develop a cooperative dispensary. We are looking ahead at what we would like in two years time."While medicinal marijuana use has been legalized in Michigan, it is still illegal under federal law. In recent years, federal agents have raided some clinics in other states that dispense the leafy medication, but President Barack Obama has pledged to stop such raids.Michigan joins 12 other states in legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes."(Obama) is signaling that they're going to respect state laws on this," Francisco said.Allen, who campaigned on behalf of last year's ballot measure, said he is anxious to prove to the public that a medicinal marijuana law can work in the state. Anticipating Benefits   To naysayers who worry that medicinal marijuana may pose a danger to children living in the same home, Allen said, users must keep it from youth just like any other prescribed medication."We have a lot of organizing to do and a lot of education to do," Allen said. "There certainly is a need out there. A lot of people will benefit from it." Note: New rules for drug's use take effect on April 6. Source: Lansing State Journal (MI)Author: Scott Davis, Lansing State JournalPublished:  March 15, 2009Copyright: 2009 Lansing State JournalWebsite: Articles:Medical Marijuana Law To Kick in Soon Marijuana Law To Kick in April 4

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Comment #17 posted by FoM on March 16, 2009 at 14:33:38 PT
Marijuana Journal: Riding a Wave Toward April
By Greg FranciscoMonday, March 16,2009 Marijuana Journal is a weekly column tracking the implementation of the state medical marijuana law. Greg Francisco is the executive director of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association. This column appears online every Monday and every Wednesday in print. ***When youíre riding the crest, it can be awfully hard to gauge just where the wave may be taking you. Itís not always easy to assess how big the wave is, how fast it is moving or how far it will carry. Rather, you have to just hang on, enjoy the ride and hope youíre not headed for the rocks.And so it goes in mid-March in regards to the Michigan Medical Marijuana program. The law has been in effect since Dec. 4, but the state wonít start taking official applications until early April and wonít begin issuing registration cards for three weeks after that. During the interim, patients are depending on their valid doctor recommendations to provide at least partial legal protection. Itís as if weíve been walking a tight rope for years and now have a safety net underneath us. But we wonít be truly safe until we reach solid ground in late April.It seems to be going fairly smoothly as we surf this wave, with only the occasional whirlpool appearing on the surface. Many police officers are recognizing valid recommendations and upon presentation, are leaving patients alone, still in possession of their medicine.Prosecutors seem to be proceeding with maximum caution. Many patients previously charged with marijuana offenses are seeing the charges dramatically reduced or even dropped. Prosecutors are elected officials and they can read the polls just like anyone else. None appear anxious to persecute patients.Compassion clubs continue to sprout around the state. Compassion clubs are simply patient support groups. The clubs are not intended to be hook-ups for the transfer of medical marijuana, seeds or clones. Already patients, caregivers, health care providers and their loved ones are finding the clubs tremendously helpful.Every week a few more brave doctors are writing recommendations. Many patients have been visiting the THC-F clinic as well. Next month, THC-F will be holding clinics in Houghton Lake, Grand Rapids and Southfield and the following month will be in Marquette. More and more patients are finding doctors willing to do medical marijuana assessments.Only with the perspective of time will we be able to truly judge these early days of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act. But, so far, so good.Copyright: 2009 City Pulse
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Comment #16 posted by ekim on March 15, 2009 at 20:48:08 PT
nice vibs dir tv 101
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Comment #15 posted by BGreen on March 15, 2009 at 20:21:43 PT
Mr. Lynch
He ran a compassion club that served a population of 265,000 in a one hundred square mile radius and the sheriff said that 2,000 cannabis patients was the reason behind the investigation, raid and arrest of Mr. Lynch.That works out to just three quarters of one percent of the population!Compare that statistic to the 10% of kids on amphetamines for ADD, ADHD and other behavioral problems and tell me where the suspicion should lie. ALL of those kids are minors, not the made up under 21 BS, but real life under 18 minors. My niece was 10-years-old when they gave her amphetamines. WTF is wrong with the DEA and other drug warriors?Also, how many of those 10% of kids look sick? Probably NONE!The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #14 posted by BGreen on March 15, 2009 at 20:08:36 PT
Once again, the average weight per plant indoors is about an ounce NOT a pound. The lying cops know that but they just continue to lie.LIARS!Plus, we finally have a face to put with the name, DEA Spokesliar Sarah Pullen, and it's not a pretty face at all. I know she's a DEA hack and against powder, but for the love of God could she use a little powder on her face to cut that annoying shine?The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #13 posted by ekim on March 15, 2009 at 20:07:57 PT
Michigan Medical Marijuana Association
for more info ck link 
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Comment #12 posted by FoM on March 15, 2009 at 20:03:35 PT

Charles Lynch
This was much better then the Stossel piece the other night. There was detail and people had an opportunity to listen to what Charles Lynch said. If you put together the first part of the program and the second part of the program people should see why it's time to take the crime out of marijuana for the people who want and need to use it.
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Comment #11 posted by charmed quark on March 15, 2009 at 19:58:06 PT

The plants didn't look long for this world
They were so spindly I doubt they would have yielded anything.These small indoor plants are treated like they'll become 15 foot outdoor plants. Ridiculous.I'm listening to the Morro Bay Lynch thing. I can believe that the sheriff violated the state law because he thought the people going to the dispensary were too healthy looking.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on March 15, 2009 at 19:43:50 PT

My Opinion of The Show So Far
When the policeman said that those 11 plants could yield 11 pounds that can sell for $3,500 I almost fell off my chair. Not really but that is such an exaggeration.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on March 15, 2009 at 17:21:59 PT

You're welcome. 
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Comment #8 posted by fight_4_freedom on March 15, 2009 at 17:21:45 PT

Can't wait for the Al Roker Show
Also: April 4th, 2009 on the campus of the University of Michigan.....Hash Bash will be in full effect! And with the law passing this year, this should be the best bash ever!High Noon on the Diag of the University of Michigan campus on April 4th!It's going to be a blast!This is a must for all patients and advocates throughout the state of Michigan.
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Comment #7 posted by greenmed on March 15, 2009 at 17:08:27 PT

Friendly Reminder
Thanks, FoM.

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Comment #6 posted by FoM on March 15, 2009 at 17:01:52 PT

Friendly Reminder: Al Roker - Marijuana Inc.
Tonight on MSNBC at 10 pm. 
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on March 15, 2009 at 11:39:19 PT

NH Panel Discussion Focuses on Medical Marijuana

 Associated Press - March 15, 2009 LACONIA, N.H. (AP) - Both sides of New Hampshire's medical marijuana debate are coming together to discuss the issue.The Legislature is considering a bill that would allow seriously ill patients to use small amounts marijuana under a doctor's recommendation.At a panel discussion Monday, supporters of the bill will be represented by a physician and state representative from Belmont, an Allenstown woman with multiple sclerosis and the executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy.Opponents will be represented by the Enfield police chief, a lawyer with the attorney general's office and a conservative blogger and commentator from Gilford.Noon. Lakes Regional Community College Center for Arts and Technology.Copyright 2009 The Associated Press

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Comment #4 posted by runruff on March 15, 2009 at 09:50:38 PT

It doesn't take a rocket surgeon!
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Comment #3 posted by The GCW on March 15, 2009 at 09:40:41 PT

Lorenzo,It feels good to speak up.It's time to stop cannabis prohibitionists from harming others. Time to put an end to the filthy cannabis prohibitionists for good.For the good of humans and earth.Speaking up helps other citizens see how to speak up too.It's time to treat cannabis prohibitionists like vampires.
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Comment #2 posted by The GCW on March 15, 2009 at 09:25:59 PT

Ready - Set - STOP
ReadySet STOPcaging sick humans for using the God-given plant cannabis.
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Comment #1 posted by Joe_Dirt on March 15, 2009 at 09:23:40 PT:

Almost there
The state of Michigan seems to want to make MMJ work for the patients who need it. Unfortunately they are going about in a way that will be a long and painful learning curve.
They are trying start their MMJ availability to patients from scratch. We all know that there will never be enough MMJ for patients that need it, especially those who are so sick they can't even get up to tend to the plants. Learning curves for growing can be long. A caregiver who grows for 5 patients isn't going to provide enough variation or consistency of supply. Lots of little grows allows the illicit side of marijuana growing to hide within the MMJ community.
The wheel has already been invented. There is no need to reinvent it.
Most of the successful organizations in this country are modeled after something that already exists and works. There are plenty of people in this country who know how to produce and control the quality MMJ. Why not create best practices for MMJ commission to set up a long term, sustainable system that will serves the voters and patients of Michigan.
The Michigan Department of Community Health has the opportunity to be proactive in this matter rather than reactive. They are in a position to create a comprehensive system that can be a model for the rest of the country.
Invite MMJ consultants from other MMJ states to discuss best practices. Set up a system that is safe for patients with quality control, enough supply, and safe dispensary's. Set up a system that is safe for growers as well, like rules governing location, quantity of plants, cleanliness of growing operations, lab testing of MMJ for Quality Control and Police cooperation and protection for security of gardens.
Micro Breweries may be a model to look at. Large scale operations are not ready for prime time yet, they attract the Feds.MMJ is here to stay. I think itís time that real talks take place to make sure that a system is set up that show the legitimacy of this wonderful plant. Mainstream America will accept MMJ when it sees that there is a system and controls in place.These are my thoughts about MMJ. Please feel free to comment. Dialog of subject matters are how problems are solved. MMJ is a subject dear to my heart, since it is what allows me to reduce the pain in my life.
This is my first posting. I have been visiting this site for many months. I felt like itís time to speak up.
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