Door Opens for Medical Marijuana Registration
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Door Opens for Medical Marijuana Registration
Posted by CN Staff on April 09, 2009 at 09:09:01 PT
By John Cavanagh, Herald-Journal Writer
Source: Ludington Daily News
Michigan -- While the law went into effect last December following its state-wide passage in November, it wasn’t until Monday that qualifying people could actually apply for a registration card to legally use marijuana for certain medical conditions.Registration is with the Michigan Department of Community Health, but local health departments will have very little to do with it, District 10 Health Department Medical Director Dr. James Wilson said. Qualifying people will need to fill out an application form available online through the state health department Web site, and upon verification will be issued a registration card.
According to Hart physician Dr. Rudy Ochs, participation in the program is voluntary on the physician’s part, and Hart Family Medical is “considering” it. Ochs said he expects a tight rein on medical marijuana use in this area, and it won’t be like California where people can go to a clinic and get a medical marijuana prescription. The program does not provide a referral list of participating physicians.Ochs said medical marijuana can be prescribed for patients suffering from chronic pain or nausea that can be associated with chemotherapy treatments. He said he hadn’t seen the latest regulations, but his original concern was that there is no prescription information that comes with the marijuana.For example, Ochs said if he writes a prescription for Vicodin or Valium, the patient takes the prescription to the pharmacy and receives information regarding side effects when the prescription is filled. If a patient using medical marijuana goes out and causes an accident while using the drug, the liability falls on the doctor, Ochs said.The primary ingredient in marijuana, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has been used as a medicine for years under the name Marinol, Ochs said. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Web site, the active ingredient in Marinol is a synthetic THC, and it comes in pill form.The law requires that physicians signing off on medical marijuana must be medical doctors (MDs) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DOs) licensed to practice in Michigan. Patients must have an established patient/physician relationship with their attending physicians. Other licensed health professionals, such as chiropractors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, cannot sign the documentation.To register, people must be Michigan residents and will need to first have a physician’s statement that they might benefit from medical marijuana use. Both users and caregivers are required to pay a $100 registration fee. The fee is reduced to $25 if enrolled in Medicaid Health Plan or receiving Social Security income benefits.Registrations are kept confidential by the health department, but names will be released to police to verify registration. They can only be disclosed to others with specific written requests from patients.Once registered, patients or caregivers can possess up to 2.5 ounces or 12 marijuana plants. The plants must be maintained in a closed and locked facility. Caregivers can assist up to five patients and may possess enough marijuana for those patients (maximum 60 plants). The program does not provide marijuana seeds or starter plants nor does it provide information on how to grow marijuana.Primary caregivers are described as people at least 21 years old, who have agreed to assist with a patient’s medical marijuana use. Caregivers also must have never been convicted of a felony involving illegal drugs.James McCurtis of the Michigan Department of Community Health said since Monday, the registry’s first day, the department has received 190 applications for the medical marijuana program. He said that on Monday the department had received 101 applications.McCurtis said he wasn’t sure if or how many were from this area because at this point data is not available by region.Oceana County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Craig Mast doesn’t think medical marijuana use will be a big problem in this area, but said the rules will be strictly enforced. He said he sees a potential problem with people claiming they have proper authority.“We can see that being a common defense or an attempted defense,” Mast said.He emphasized that legal users and caregivers of medical marijuana will need to have their documents to prove they are allowed to grow, possess and use marijuana. If not, the marijuana likely will be confiscated and the case turned over to the prosecutor. If the user or caregiver can later produce proper documentation, it will be up to the prosecutor to sort out.“We hope some recreational users don’t try to abuse this,” Mast said. “Documentation is going to be of the utmost importance.”Law enforcement officers in Mason County still have some questions about how they will now deal with the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes.“There are still a lot of questions that have to be answered yet,” said Mason County Undersheriff Tom Trenner.Trenner said he thinks there may be some confusion over whether someone who uses medical marijuana can drive a motor vehicle.“If there are any traces of THC in their system you can’t legally drive a car,” he said. “My understanding at this time is that if there are any traces of THC in the driver’s system they are driving under the influence of drugs.”Trenner said someone could go to jail for driving under the influence of drugs.Ludington Police Chief Mark Barnett said the law would mean changes to how some marijuana cases are handled.“From the patrol perspective, the ability to carry marijuana pursuant to the new law would vastly change how we would process that particular person,” he said.The law prohibits:• smoking marijuana in public• possessing marijuana at schools or correctional facilities• operating a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana• making a fraudulent medical use claim or possession to law enforcement to avoid prosecution• selling marijuana to someone other than a qualified patient.Qualifying ailments:• Cancer• Glaucoma• HIV or AIDS positive• Hepatitis C• ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)• Crohn’s Disease• Agitation of Alzheimer’s Disease• Nail Patella• Cachexia or Wasting Syndrome• Severe or chronic pain• Severe nausea• Seizures*• Severe and persistent muscle spasms*** including but not limited to those characteristics of Epilepsy** including but not limited to those characteristics of multiple sclerosisSource: Ludington Daily News (MI)Author: John Cavanagh, Herald-Journal WriterPublished: Thursday, April 9, 2009Copyright: 2009 Shoreline Media, Inc.Contact: ldn URL: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #3 posted by JuztBudz on April 09, 2009 at 20:35:56 PT:
Another mis-informed doctor, police officer 
Dr. Och's, quoted in the article, claims that if a med/mar patient causes an accident that the doctor is the responsible party, cockamamie, the doctor is not held responsible, under the law as written.
The police think that any THC in the bloodstream will be enough to bust a driver. First that driver must be unable to pass a simple sobriety test, if unable, the police must then be able to prove that it is cannabis and not some other factor. The law protects med/mar drivers.
The reporter also implies that a med/mar patient may possess 2 1/2 oz. or 12 plants, the proper statement should read 2 1/2 oz. and 12 plants. It seems that no one in this state is up on the law, except those of us who are med/mar patients...
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on April 09, 2009 at 16:34:35 PT
 Marijuana: Medical Miracle or Slippery Slope
April 9, 2009URL:
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 09, 2009 at 12:12:24 PT
Press Release From PRNewswire-USNewswire
N. California Researchers Testing Whether Marijuana Chemical Can Slow Cancer Growth, With Funding by Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R) 
 Largest Breast Cancer Organization Investing $60 Million to Research Despite Down EconomySAN FRANCISCO, April 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Testing whether a powerful ingredient in marijuana can help slow the growth of aggressive breast cancer cells is just one of six Bay Area breast cancer studies being funded this year by Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R), the global leader in the breast cancer movement announced today.
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