Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Michigan decriminalizes medical marijuana

The Midwest--This is a truly incredible development that could only have happened with disciplined grassroots (pun-intended) organizing that has continued unabated for over a decade, and the main fact that the economy of Michigan needs something--anything--to give it a "boost" (pun-intended). This means jobs and more tax-revenues for the State of Michigan, say what you will...and I'm sure some of you out there will.

The medical applications for How does it make me feel? It's a good development, because now doctors in Michigan can legally prescribe marijuana for the people who need it very badly, such as chemotherapy patients, AIDs patients, and so on.

The medical applications of marijuana/THC are numerous, and the full number of them have yet to be expended. As many Americans know by now, there are also numerous eco-friendly consumer applications of the hemp plant, including the generation of energy.

The Michigan law defines users as having a "debilitating medical" condition, and will be issued registry-cards authorizing them to use and even possess and cultivate medical "marihuana" (an old legislative-spelling):

3. Definitions.

Sec. 3. As used in this act:

(a) "Debilitating medical condition" means 1 or more of the following:

(1) Cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus,
acquired immune deficiency syndrome, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis,
Crohn's disease, agitation of Alzheimer's disease, nail patella, or the treatment of
these conditions.

(2) A chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition or its treatment
that produces 1 or more of the following: cachexia or wasting syndrome; severe
and chronic pain; severe nausea; seizures, including but not limited to those
characteristic of epilepsy; or severe and persistent muscle spasms, including but
not limited to those characteristic of multiple sclerosis.

(3) Any other medical condition or its treatment approved by the
department, as provided for in section 5(a).

(b) "Department" means the state department of community health.

(c) "Enclosed, locked facility" means a closet, room, or other enclosed area
equipped with locks or other security devices that permit access only by a
registered primary caregiver or registered qualifying patient.

(d) "Marihuana" means that term as defined in section 7106 of the public
health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.7106.

(e) "Medical use" means the acquisition, possession, cultivation,
manufacture, use, internal possession, delivery, transfer, or transportation of
marihuana or paraphernalia relating to the administration of marihuana to treat or
alleviate a registered qualifying patient's debilitating medical condition or
symptoms associated with the debilitating medical condition.

(f) "Physician" means an individual licensed as a physician under Part 170
of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.17001 to 333.17084, or an
osteopathic physician under Part 175 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL
333.17501 to 333.17556.

(g) "Primary caregiver" means a person who is at least 21 years old and who
has agreed to assist with a patient's medical use of marihuana and who has never
been convicted of a felony involving illegal drugs.

(h) "Qualifying patient" means a person who has been diagnosed by a
physician as having a debilitating medical condition.

(i) "Registry identification card" means a document issued by the
department that identifies a person as a registered qualifying patient or registered
primary caregiver.

(j) "Usable marihuana" means the dried leaves and flowers of the marihuana
plant, and any mixture or preparation thereof, but does not include the seeds,
stalks, and roots of the plant.

(k) "Visiting qualifying patient" means a patient who is not a resident of this
state or who has been a resident of this state for less than 30 days.

(l) "Written certification" means a document signed by a physician, stating
the patient's debilitating medical condition and stating that, in the physician's
professional opinion, the patient is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit
from the medical use of marihuana to treat or alleviate the patient's debilitating
medical condition or symptoms associated with the debilitating medical condition.

It's a 16 page statute with a thoroughness that's thrilling, it should be applauded as well-written and clear in its language, a rarity in most legislation. You would think this is big news, but the majority of the major media outlets are doing their best to talk as little about it as humanly possible. Most interesting is the State of Michigan's assertion of state's rights in the matter of marijuana-interdiction:
The People of the State of Michigan enact:

1. Short Title.

Sec. 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the Michigan Medical
Marihuana Act.

2. Findings.

Sec. 2. The people of the State of Michigan find and declare that:

(a) Modern medical research, including as found by the National Academy
of Sciences' Institute of Medicine in a March 1999 report, has discovered
beneficial uses for marihuana in treating or alleviating the pain, nausea, and other
symptoms associated with a variety of debilitating medical conditions.

(b) Data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports
and the Compendium of Federal Justice Statistics show that approximately 99 out
of every 100 marihuana arrests in the United States are made under state law,
rather than under federal law. Consequently, changing state law will have the
practical effect of protecting from arrest the vast majority of seriously ill people
who have a medical need to use marihuana.

(c) Although federal law currently prohibits any use of marihuana except
under very limited circumstances, states are not required to enforce federal law or
prosecute people for engaging in activities prohibited by federal law. [My emphasis.] The laws of Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Washington do not penalize the medical use and cultivation of marihuana. Michigan joins in this effort for the health and welfare of its citizens.
Once the domain of California, the Northwest, and even some of the plains states and Southwest, medical marijuana has made a beachhead right here in the heart of the American Midwest. Times are certainly changing, just another part of our rapidly-shifting demographics. Now, if only that prostitution statue had passed in San Francisco. Don't worry. Eventually, another one like it will. Get organized, the fight has only begun on this issue in Michigan.

The first shots of this battle were fired at Rainbow Farm, once overshadowed like everything else by the events of September 11th, 2001. The gloves are truly off now.