Michigan Medical Marijuana Regulations Challenged

Draft regulations intended to govern Michigan’s new medical-marijuana law came under attack in a public hearing, the Detroit Free Press reported, Jan. 6.

The regulations, drawn up by the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), gave rise to constitutionality and privacy issues and are a burden for law-enforcement agencies, critics contend. “We are responsible, law-abiding adults,” said Greg Francisco, executive director of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association (MMMA). “We want a sensible, workable medical-marijuana program.”

The draft rules state that registered medical-marijuana users or their caregivers would need to keep records of the amounts of marijuana they grow, and users would be required to identify other users on registration forms. “I don’t have to tell my pharmacist every other patient who my doctor has written a prescription for,” Francisco said.

Concerns were also raised about MDCH contacting federal officials as part of the registration process. The transmission of this information could lead to an incriminating situation due to the continued federal prohibition on marijuana possession. “We need to change the law enforcement paradigm to a public-health paradigm,” said Melody Karr of MMMA.

The Michigan State Police objected to a proposed requirement that they be responsible for destroying excess marijuana. “It’s burdensome for law enforcement to have someone come in asking to destroy 12 plants,” said Greg Zarotney, of the State Police executive division. Zarotney suggested that users or caregivers be empowered to destroy excess plants, or that rules be established allowing the transfer of excess marijuana from a former user to a new one.

The Michigan medical-marijuana program will begin on April 4, 2009.

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