Changes to The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act Have Taken Effect!-Rudoi Law




On April 1st, 2013 the changes to the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act take effect, including extending the one-year registry cards to two years and established rules for doctor-patient relationship for medical-marijuana users.

The use of medical marijuana was endorsed by voters in 2008 to alleviate side effects of certain illnesses, like cancer or chronic pain. One of the most drastic changes defines the type of doctor-patient relationship needed before medical marijuana use can be permitted.

(Related: Legal Prescreen)

Democratic Rep. Phil Cavanagh of Redford Township in Wayne County, who sponsored one of the bills, said lawmakers were concerned that the certificates were given out without proper verification.

Under HB 4851 doctors must complete face-to-face medical evaluations of patients, review their relevant medical records, and assess their medical condition and history. In addition, the amendments require a follow-up with patents after providing the certification to determine whether the use of medical marijuana is successfully treating the illness. Cavanagh said this prevents “some out-of-state doctor from coming in, renting a hotel room, writing these things and then leaving town.”

(Related: How to Become a Registered Qualifying Patient Under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act)

The new standards will benefit patients and doctors by clearly outlining the expectations throughout the certification process.

Other changes include the time that a state-issued card is valid for — Michigan Medical Marijuana Registry Identification cards will be good for two years under HB 4834. Applicants must also provide proof of residence in the form of a driver’s license, or state ID, to get the registry identification cards.

(Related: Are Dispensaries Legal In Michigan?)

Currently, there are more than 131,000 registered medical-marijuana patients in the state. Another 27,000 are caregivers, or individuals who are permitted to grow marijuana for up to five people.

Under HB 4851 caregivers will now be disqualified if they have committed a felony within the last 10 years or have ever committed an assault. The only previous requirement was that caregivers could not have been previously convicted of a drug felony.  As a result, some patients will lose their caregiver and be forced to find a new one.

One of the amendments approved by lawmakers, HB 4856, regards the transportation of Medical marijuana. Medical-marijuana users are now required to store their pot in a case in a trunk while riding in a motor vehicle. If the vehicle does o’t have a trunk, the marijuana must be in a case that’s not readily accessible from the passenger compartment of the vehicle.

Even after these changes a number of major questions are presented within the state’s medical-marijuana system. In January, the state Supreme Court ruled that many so-called medical-marijuana dispensaries immune from prosecution based on section 4 of the MMMA.

However, last month Republican Rep. Mike Callton of Nashville introduced a bill to legalize the shops, which would result in more changes to the medical-marijuana law.

Rudoi Law offers expertise in the new legal field surrounding the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act. Before you act under the MMMA, we strongly encourage you to have a legal consultation to steer clear of known problems.

Whether you’re a patient needing medical marijuana or a considering becoming a medical marihuana provider, Rudoi Law can help you navigate the shifting, uncertain terrain. We can advise you on the registrations needed and the restrictions proscribed by the Michigan Legislature.

We can also advise you on the prevailing attitudes of prosecutors in your area and what to do in the event you are confronted by law enforcement.

Remember: being confronted by the police about medical marihuana is a real possibility and could have serious consequences. You need to be prepared to defend yourself from overzealous officials.

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medical marijuana

American College of Physicians Says “YES” to Medical Marijuana in Historic Endorsement



The Use of Medical Marijuana is Endorsed by American College of Physicians

A leading American medical association has endorsed the medicinal use of marijuana, called for more studies of marijuana’s medical uses, and insisted that the US government stop halting progress of medical marijuana research. The position paper from the American College of Physicians was released after being approved by the group’s governing body.

The college utilized the strong evidence that marijuana has proven useful in treating AIDS wasting syndrome, glaucoma, and the nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy treatments. In addition, the college noted the existence of anecdotal evidence for a number of other medical uses of marijuana, but that research has been deterred by “a complicated federal approval process, limited availability of research grade marijuana, and the debate over legalization.” The science of medical marijuana should not be “hindered or obscured” by the controversy over legalizing the plan for personal, non-medical use, the group said.

(Related: Supreme Court Holds Drug Sniffing Dog at Door of Home is an Unconstitutional Search)

“This is a historic statement by one of the world’s most respected physician groups, and shows the growing scientific consensus that marijuana is a safe, effective medicine for some patients, including many battling life-threatening illnesses like cancer and AIDS,” said former US Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders in a press release from the Marijuana Policy Project. “Large medical associations move cautiously, and for the American College of Physicians to note ‘a clear discord’ between scientific opinion and government policy on medical marijuana is a stinging rebuke to our government. It’s time for politicians and bureaucrats to get out of the way of good medicine and solid research.”

“This statement by the American College of Physicians recognizes what clinicians and researchers have been seeing for years, that for some patients medical marijuana works when conventional drugs fail,” said Dr. Michael Saag, director of the Center for AIDS Research at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. “One of the challenges in HIV/AIDS treatment is helping patients to adhere to drug regimens that may cause nausea and other noxious side effects. The relief of these side effects that marijuana provides can help patients stay on life-extending therapies.”

(Related: How To Get A Medical Card In Michigan)

“This statement by America’s second largest doctors’ group demolishes the myth that the medical community doesn’t support medical marijuana,” said Marijuana Policy Project executive director Rob Kampia. “The ACP’s statement smashes a number of other myths, including the claims that adequate substitutes are available or that marijuana is unsafe for medical use. 124,000 doctors have just said what our government refuses to hear, that it makes no medical or moral sense to arrest the sick and suffering for using medical marijuana.”

The ACP position paper includes 13 pages, but the group summarizes its medical marijuana positions as follows:

(Related: Medical Marijuana: Know Your Rights)

medical marijuana

Position 1: ACP supports programs and funding for rigorous scientific evaluation of the potential therapeutic benefits of medical marijuana and the publication of such findings.

Position 1a: ACP supports increased research for conditions where the efficacy of marijuana has been established to determine optimal dosage and route of delivery.

Position 1b: Medical marijuana research should not only focus on determining drug efficacy and safety but also on determining efficacy in comparison with other available treatments.

Position 2: ACP encourages the use of non-smoked forms of THC that have proven therapeutic value.

Position 3: ACP supports the current process for obtaining federal research-grade cannabis.

Position 4: ACP urges review of marijuana’s status as a schedule I controlled substance and its reclassification into a more appropriate schedule, given the scientific evidence regarding marijuana’s safety and efficacy in some clinical conditions.

Position 5: ACP strongly supports exemption from federal criminal prosecution; civil liability; or professional sanctioning, such as loss of licensure or credentialing, for physicians who prescribe or dispense medical marijuana in accordance with state law.

ACP urges patients who use medical marijuana as permitted under state laws to be protection from criminal or civil penalties.

“The richness of modern medicine is to carefully evaluate new treatments. Marijuana has been in a special category because of, I suppose, its abuses and other concerns,” Dr. David Dale, the group’s president and a University of Washington professor of medicine, said.

Chief scientist for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy could only speak to science. “The science should be kept open. There should be more research. We should continue to investigate,” he said.

(Related: Medical Marijuana Info for Patients)

Dale Gieringer, executive director of California NORML was pleasantly surprised was with the ACP’s call to end the criminal persecution of medical marijuana patients, providers, and doctors. “They came out really forcefully against criminalization,” he noted. “That’s very impressive. No one else has been willing to address that. All of these apologists for the government run around saying you can’t have unregulated medical marijuana, but that doesn’t mean you need to throw patients and doctors in jail.”

This policy statement by the nation’s second largest medical association should expedite the medical community’s embrace of medical marijuana, in particular, the American Medical Association which had previously been dragging its feet.

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