Acquiring Medical Marijuana Remains a Challenge
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Acquiring Medical Marijuana Remains a Challenge
Posted by CN Staff on April 20, 2009 at 05:09:06 PT
By Scott Davis, From Lansing State Journal 
Source: Lansing State Journal
Michigan -- Lynn Allen is his own pharmacist.He grows his medicine in a bedroom closet in his Williamston home - five marijuana plants that promise relief from chronic pain caused by hemophilia and HIV. He has little choice. A newly implemented medical marijuana law in Michigan makes no provisions for authorized patients to acquire marijuana at a pharmacy or other retail source.
They must either grow it themselves - with no guidance on how to legally acquire seeds - or find someone willing to grow a limited amount for them."There's a lot of confusion generally," said Allen, 52. "The people providing growing services are still trying to sort things out."Such is the dilemma faced by medical marijuana users and caregivers with new rules implemented April 6 for the state's medical marijuana law. The law authorizes those with a doctor's recommendation and a state permit to grow their own marijuana for medical use or designate someone else to grow marijuana on their behalf.A lack of guidance on acquiring marijuana means some patients must walk a legal tightrope - and rely on emerging support groups in Michigan - as they try to acquire medication to ease their pain and suffering. For instance, it's illegal to order or ship marijuana seeds through the mail, nor can they be purchased in Canada and transported into the United States. Supply: 'A Gray Area' "It's a gray area," Greg Francisco, executive director of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, said of marijuana supply under the new law."The state had to be dragged into this all the way. They are not actively putting up barriers. ... They just don't want to touch it."But James McCurtis, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Community Health, said supply is not addressed in the new rules, because it was not included in the model recommended by the Marijuana Policy Project. The national medical marijuana advocacy group has assisted states in launching medical marijuana efforts."Our basic job is to regulate who gets the license and who doesn't," McCurtis said. "We don't deal with enforcement." 483 Have Applied As of Friday, 483 people had applied to the state department to become a medicinal marijuana user or caregiver, McCurtis said.He said the state would begin issuing identification cards this week.To address confusion over medicinal marijuana, "compassion clubs," a form of support groups, are sprouting across the state, including mid-Michigan. The clubs, which are being organized at the local level, provide patients information on the new law, advice on growing marijuana and networking opportunities for people new to the herbal medical community.Although some users admit they had been using marijuana illegally in Michigan for years to ease pain before the practice was legalized last year, association members say many others will be growing and using marijuana for the first time."You can't just throw the seed in the ground and get medical quality cannabis," said R.D. Winthrop, 61, of Lansing, a medicinal marijuana user who has formed the Lansing-Eastside Compassion Club. It's holding an organizational meeting Tuesday.Nevertheless, compassion club organizers say they are careful not to advise new users on where to acquire seeds because of the illegal nature of that act. Organizers say they also strongly prohibit any exchanges of marijuana at the meeting location and grounds. No Swaps "It's not about a place to swap seeds and (plants.) We're very clear about that," said Roger Maufort, 56, of Jackson, who recently organized the Jackson County Compassion Club. "It's not only the goal that we are operating within the law, but that our members understand the law."Winthrop said the goal is to encourage club members to form acquaintances and friendships with one another so they can share knowledge and supplies. Members also are directed to Michigan Medical Marijuana Association Web site, where novices can blog and exchange mail with more experienced users. 'System is Workable' As networking takes place, Greg Switala, 55, a medicinal marijuana user from Clio, said he doesn't expect marijuana supply will remain a problem among new users. Switala organized a compassion club meeting in Saginaw on April 11 that drew 70 people."I think the system is workable the way it is," Switala said. "I don't think it's a significant issue because qualified patients and respective caregivers ... are in legal possession of the substance and can transfer and deliver."Eventually, Francisco said, he would like to see Michigan adopt the model now used in New Mexico, which has set up a system of regulated nonprofit cooperatives. In this system, a group of patients and/or caregivers join together in marijuana growing efforts for medical use."I think the system is going to evolve," Francisco said. "A way for caregivers and patients to find each other."Additional Facts:I support group: Lansing-Eastside Compassion Club, a support group for medicinal marijuana users and their caregivers, will hold an organizational meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Gone Wired Cafe, 2021 E. Michigan Ave., in Lansing.Source: Lansing State Journal (MI)Author: Scott Davis, Lansing State JournalPublished:  April 20, 2009Copyright: 2009 Lansing State JournalURL: Articles:101 Sign Up for Medical Marijuana Dozens Register for Medical Marijuana
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Comment #15 posted by Hope on April 25, 2009 at 06:48:55 PT
That judge is guilty of more than 
draconian thinking. He's placed himself above the law and made himself into some sort of dictator/despot king. He needs impeaching and disbarring.
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on April 25, 2009 at 06:46:09 PT
From your report... I'd say a certain judge is in serious need of impeachment. 
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on April 25, 2009 at 06:34:49 PT
That really is pathetic. I feel we are entering an age of awareness and common sense. Maybe it won't be as hard for Michigan patients as it has been for those in California.
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Comment #12 posted by juztbudz on April 25, 2009 at 06:02:43 PT:
You are absolutely right, FOM
The biggest bust was for 21 3" plants. These were being grown by a legal couple so they were allowed 24 plants. They had thier recommendation on the grow room door, had thier front door busted in. At the prelim the judge said "I'm not allowing medical marijuana in my town". Draconian thinking...but still, it is happening.
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on April 22, 2009 at 13:02:01 PT
The seeds would barely be out of the ground since the law has been started. It started only in April so gardens would just be getting set up now I would think. They are busting people for legal grows this soon? The plants would only be a few inches tall I would think. 
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Comment #10 posted by juztbudz on April 22, 2009 at 12:51:44 PT:
Recent arrests
Yes, unfortunately, there are a few qualified patients who have had thier doors kicked in. We had a judge state today that regardless of the situation, he will not allow marijuana in his city. These folks are sick and usually poor, thank god we have a community here that will help these people out and lawyers who are willing to do some pro-bono work for them.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on April 20, 2009 at 18:54:33 PT
OT: Hope
I went to the Palm Beach Post to see if they know more on what caused the horses to die like that. I can't help but think they were poisoned on purpose. Pics:
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on April 20, 2009 at 18:10:32 PT
I meant that the conversation you were having with FoM is important. Is the local law arresting medical patients since the new law went into effect?
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on April 20, 2009 at 15:34:34 PT
Sorry to interrupt you conversation. It was important. I was just looking for a place to post that thought while I had the chance and I plopped it right in the middle of your conversation without realizing it. My apologies.
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on April 20, 2009 at 15:22:09 PT
Thanks Hope
I don't know if this link will work but we are listening to it now.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on April 20, 2009 at 15:17:56 PT
NPR piece
You posted this somewhere in the comments in one of the threads, FoM. Thanks though. That's an important read, I suspect, although I haven't had a chance to read it all yet, and the comments will be interesting, too, I'm sure. If Marijuana Were Legal? Possible Outcomesby John Burnett
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on April 20, 2009 at 13:56:25 PT
Are people getting busted in Michigan since the new law took effect?
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Comment #3 posted by juztbudz on April 20, 2009 at 13:48:20 PT:
Most of those
folks that are getting busted are within thier legal limits and are completely within the law. It is "john law" who are breaking the law, and as they are soon to realize, "We are mad as hell, and not going to take it any more". It is going to take awhile, but after a few municipalities have gone thru the civil court actions, payed the unjustly harrassed thier payout, then they will reconsider before busting down doors and frightening the sick and dying.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on April 20, 2009 at 10:18:08 PT
What I hope is that people in Michigan learn from some of the honest mistakes that have been made in California. Follow the law as close as possible. Go easy and remember to keep it sensible. That's just my advice for what it's worth.Happy 4/20.
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Comment #1 posted by juztbudz on April 20, 2009 at 10:04:46 PT:
While the MPP
did it's best to write a workable proposal, they did fail Michigan in several key areas. The acquisition of plants and seeds should have been addressed somehow, the transfer section of the law should have protected both sides of the transfer. Oh well, we work with what we have here in Michigan and we will do just fine. I just wish the law enforcement folk would read the law, to many of us are going down right now...
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