On Thursday, the Michigan House passed a group of 4 bills that will work to clarify aspects of the state’s medical marijuana law. Since Michigan’s medical marijuana law was passed in 2008, many critics have felt as though the law had too many grey areas or loopholes that allow people to take advantage of the system and put patients at risk. The passage of these new bills will help to protect patients’ rights and create more safeguards to ensure that the medical marijuana program is not abused.
The House passed four bills which will now go to the Senate for review. The legislation will create a new panel of fifteen physicians and other members who will review petitions to approve additional qualifying conditions to add to the state’s list.
In addition, the legislation will require patients to have their pictures put on their medical marijuana cards so that their identities can be verified. The legislation also aims to define the type of relationship needed between a patient and a doctor for the doctor to be able to recommend medical marijuana.
An additional amendment allows criminal defendants to say that they are a medical marijuana user in court, which could potentially help their legal cases.
While the legislation is meant to help medical marijuana patients, many marijuana advocates actually oppose the legislation, or are at least concerned about the limitations that it could have on patients.
Due to the fact that the voter-approved medical marijuana law is part of the state constitution, the House needed to approve 2 of the bills that specifically amended the law by a 3/4 majority of its members.