Thursday, May 3, 2012

Medical marijuana reforms approved in House, despite complaints it infringes on patient rights

Melissa Anders |

LANSING, MI — Medical marijuana reforms passed the Michigan House on Thursday, despite protests from activists who say they infringe on patient rights.

The bills passed with Republican and Democrat support, with opposition ranging from just four votes on one bill to 22 no votes on another. The bills now head to the Senate.

A group of representatives spent about 10 months meeting with stakeholders to discuss the reforms, and held several committee meetings to hear from law enforcement officials, doctors, medical marijuana caregivers and patient advocates.

More than 150 people protested the legislation at the Capitol last month, arguing the bills infringe on patient rights.
"You are never going to appease everyone," said Rep. Phil Cavanagh, D-Redford Township. "That’s why I have confidence that everybody is a little disappointed in the language in the four bills, yet I believe it’s a good compromise and I believe that these clarify the voters intent the best we could."

HB 4834 requires a photograph for medical marijuana patient registration cards, extends the card’s expiration from one to two years, and allows law enforcement officers or officials to access medical marijuana patient information. The bill attempts to address a backlog of card applications by calling for the state to contract with a private company to help process and issue registration cards.

HB 4851 attempts to clarify the definition of “bona fide physician-patient relationship,” which is required for medical marijuana cardholders.

"My bill, 4851, tries to shore up the doctor-patient relationship while at the same time respect the rights of medical marijuana patients," Cavanagh said. "This was the ballot initiative passed by 63 percent of the voters. I believe it is our duty in this chamber whether we agree or disagree, voted for or against, to at least try to clarify what the voters had in mind and to codify that."

HB 4853 lays out sentencing guidelines and HB 4856 regulates the transportation of medical marijuana in cars.
Rep. Lisa Brown, D-West Bloomfield, spoke out against the transport regulations.

"If you have alcohol in your car, if you buy a bottle of wine, or if you have a prescription for Vicodin, you are not required to keep it in the trunk or keep it in a case," she said. "This language treats usable marijuana as if it were a gun."

Email Melissa Anders at Follow her on Twitter: @MelissaDAnders.

How to Approach and Discuss to Your Doctor

The Medicinal Use of Cannabis
You may have already discussed the use of medicinal marijuana with your doctor, or you may be a little apprehensive to do so for any number of reasons. It is a good idea for all your health care practitioners to be aware of any therapies you may be thinking of trying. The relationship with your doctor, and how well you talk with each other, affects your care.
   Some doctors may have negative attitudes toward cannabis use in general, but if you are prepared to explain how it helps you, they will most likely be understanding. Luckily, many doctors who treat people living with theseillnesses, are familiar with the use of cannabis for managing symptoms.      
Be prepared for your appointment.
    Doctors may not have much information about cannabis use for medical purposes as it is not an "approved" drug. Doctors are busy people and may not be up to date with all the new studies. It may be up to you to educate them, so do your home work first. This site is full of facts about the benefits of medicinal marijuana. Print off some of those facts to leave with the doctor. Explain that you have tried marijuana and you do not want to support organized crime by buying on the streets. Explain that you will save your lungs by using a marijuana vaporizer.
Kia Vaporizer iolite Portable Vaporizer (Black) iolite Portable Vaporizer (Orange)
Explain how you are using cannabis (or want to use cannabis) to manage your symptoms. Your doctor will want to understand how you are using or plan on using cannabis and what effect this is having or will have on your symptoms and well-being. 

Tell your doctor whether you are smoking it, eating it, or using it in some other form, how much and how often you are using cannabis. Be prepared to explain how cannabis is relieving your symptoms and to say how much cannabis you use, in grams per day. If you have never used cannabis before, get informed. Speak to others who do use it to manage their symptoms.

Bring all your paperwork with you.  

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