On Wednesday, the Senate Government Operations Committee moved two medical marijuana bills forward to the full Senate for further review.
One bill would let municipalities allow and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries within their jurisdiction. The other bill would legalize and regulate cannabis-infused products, such as edibles and oils.
Although medical marijuana dispensaries can be found in Lansing and elsewhere, they are currently illegal and operate solely by the “grace of the local authorities,” Matthew Abel, senior partner at Cannabis Counsel, PLC said in a prior interview with the State News.
And although some dispensaries sell edibles and other cannabis-infused products, those too are illegal, Abel said.
Many patient advocacy groups have called out for the state legislature to act on the issue, because many patients require different forms of cannabis treatment to ease or cure their various ailments.
“The people are way ahead of the legislature,” he said. “So the legislature dithers while the people who have serious illnesses have a hard time getting the medication that’s working for them.”
Lansing resident Steve Green, who attended the meeting, was treating his epilepsy with 30 varieties of pharmaceutical drugs before he was recommended medical marijuana by his doctor.
Since the switch to medical marijuana pills, Green said there was a drastic improvement in his condition.
What bothers Green, and what he hopes the two bills will correct, is that cannabis-infused products are still illegal even though the people of Michigan voted medical marijuana legal in 2008.
"(The state) has found loopholes and gray areas to where they could attack the ‘evil’ marijuana,” Green said. “And so I think (the bills) are just one area of plugging some of those gaps and reinforcing that this is allowed, because they’re saying that if no one said edible marijuana is allowed, then it must not be. And I think common sense would tell you that if the voters said marijuana is allowed, it means every single form of marijuana and not (just) one particular form of marijuana.”