Four new laws revamp medical marihuana
Effective April 1, Michigan enacted new and amended medical marihuana laws addressing requirements to obtain a card, defining the physician-patient relationship, defining primary caregivers, non-compliance and transportation.
Ken Stecker, traffic safety resource prosecutor for PAAM, the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan, and former Branch County chief assistant prosecutor, briefed area professionals.
Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz said the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) voters passed in 2008 “was well-intended, but there was a bait-and-switch. It clearly didn’t do what the public thought it would do, which was to help grandpa and grandma get relief in the last stages of cancer. Instead, it’s become a party card for many of our youth. The law is extremely confusing. I talked to an attorney in Lansing who was asked to help write this ballot initiative, and to write it as befuddling as possible so it would be tied up in court.”
Cass County had 627 qualifying patients, one patient younger than 18 and 204 primary caregivers as of Sept. 30, 2012; Berrien, 2,371 patients, one younger than 18 and 1,091 approved caregivers; Van Buren, 1,524 patients and 692 caregivers.
The largest number of debilitating conditions are for severe and chronic pain (66 percent) and severe and persistent muscle spasms (18.52 percent).
There were 122,463 cards approved for 2012 and 6,687 denials.
Four medical marihuana bills became law April 1.
N House Bill 4834 requires an applicant for a registry ID card to submit proof of Michigan residency by providing a copy of a driver license, state identification card or voter registration; requires LARA, the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, to issue a registry ID card within five business days of approving an application or renewal (rather than within five days); provides that a registry ID card expires two years after its issue rather than one year; authorize LARA to contract with a private entity to assist in processing and issuing registry ID cards; requires LARA, within six months after the bill’s effective date, to establish a review panel that would review petitions to approve medical conditions or treatments for addition to the act’s list of debilitating medical conditions for which a qualifying patient may be issued a registry ID card; requires the review panel to meet at least twice per year to review and make recommendations to LARA concerning any submitted petitions completed and included documentation required by administrative rule; requires a majority of the review panel to be licensed physicians; creates the “Michigan Medical Marihuana Fund” and requires all fees collected under the act to be deposited into the fund; requires LARA to spend money from the proposed fund, upon appropriation, for operation and oversight of the Michigan medical marihuana program.
N House Bill 4851: requires a physician’s written certification of a qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition to state that the physician completed a full assessment of the patient’s medical history and current medical condition, including a relevant, in-person medical evaluation; defines “bona fide physician-patient relationship”; in the definition of “enclosed, locked facility” (where a qualifying patient or primary caregiver may keep cultivated marihuana plants), specifies conditions for plants grown outdoors and includes situations in which a vehicle could be an enclosed, locked facility.
New medical marijuana laws revise the definition of “primary caregiver” to refer to a person who had not been convicted of a felony within the past 10 years and had never been convicted of an “assaultive crime.”
They require a qualifying patient or primary caregiver to present both his or her registry identification card and a valid driver license or government-issued photo ID card to be protected from arrest.
“Bona fide physician-patient relationship” means a treatment or counseling relationship between a physician and a patient in which the physician has reviewed the patient’s relevant medical records and completed a full assessment of his or her medical history and current medical condition, including a relevant, in-person, medical evaluation of the patient; the physician has created and maintained records of the patient’s condition in accord with medically accepted standards; the physician has a reasonable expectation that he or she will provide follow-up care to the patient to monitor the efficacy of the use of medical marihuana as a treatment of the patient’s debilitating medical condition; and, if the patient has given permission, the physician has notified the patient’s primary care physician of medical marihuana certification.
N House Bill 4853 amends the Code of Criminal Procedure to include a violation of the MMMA in sentencing guidelines. Selling marihuana in violation of registry identification card restrictions will be included in the sentencing guidelines as a Class G felony, with a statutory maximum sentence of two years imprisonment.
N House Bill 4856 prohibits a person from transporting or possessing “usable marihuana,” as defined in the MMMA in or upon a motor vehicle or any self-propelled vehicle designed for land travel unless it was enclosed in a case carried in the trunk of the vehicle. If the vehicle did not have a trunk, marihuana would have to be enclosed in a case not readily accessible from the vehicle interior.
Violating the bill would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days imprisonment and/or a maximum $500 fine.
The application itself has been enlarged from four to six pages.
Dowagiac Daily News