Legislators introduce medical marijuana regulation bills
Gaping holes in Michigan’s medical marijuana law have allowed dangerous people to hijack the system, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said Wednesday.
Schuette, along with several other Michigan legislators and law enforcement officials, unveiled a list of legislative proposals that would close what they say are gaps in the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act passed by Michigan voters in 2008.
Among these is a provision that would make it a felony for patients to lie about a medical condition to get a marijuana prescription and for a doctor to knowingly certify fake information.
“The situation we have now is literally like the wild, wild west,” said Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, who was among the group of representatives that unveiled the proposals with Schuette.
David Clark, an Okemos attorney who specializes in medical marijuana law, said false information by patients and doctors to attain medical marijuana is a widespread problem across the state.
“I have a sinking feeling that a lot of physicians will just take the word of the patient,” Clark said, adding the Legislature could pass laws in place requiring documentation of a medical condition for a marijuana prescription.
But Clark also said many of the proposed laws are being brought to the table by Republicans who were against the act to begin with.
“It’s certainly a political motive,” Clark said. “No one is surprised Mr. Schuette is taking this position; I’m sure he didn’t vote for (the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act).”
Schuette also is seeking to clarify contradicting Michigan laws that make it unclear whether medical marijuana patients can drive with any amount of the drug in their system.
“Driving with marijuana in your system is unsafe and jeopardizes the safety of our roadways,” Schuette said Wednesday in a statement. “If you take drugs, don’t take the wheel.”
Clark said the current law can make it illegal for medical marijuana patients to drive even several days after using marijuana as small doses of the active ingredients can linger in a person’s system.
Jones also has sponsored legislation aimed to help communities locally regulate medical marijuana, including one bill that ensures communities cannot be sued for regulating where dispensaries can open — an issue East Lansing as faced extensively in recent months.
City officials have felt scrutiny from all sides this year after passing a medical marijuana ordinance that restricts dispensaries to medical office districts of the outskirts of town.