In a continued effort to inform and educate Utah lawmakers about the many benefits of cannabis, grassroots organization UtahCARE - Cannabis Awareness, Respect and Education - will kick off the 2014 Utah Legislative Session with a new campaign entitled “Educate in order to Medicate”.
This campaign is aimed at increasing awareness about the need for cannabis as medicine in Utah and will feature frequent e-mail blasts and phone calls to legislative members. Those responses have been documented by this writer since 2010 and will continue to be published at this link.
Michigan is the 11th state to have it’s medicinal cannabis laws examined in this series. Proposal 1, the "Michigan Medical Marihuana Act" was approved by 63% of voters on Nov. 4, 2008, thus becoming effective December 4, 2008.
The law allowed the following as “Approved Conditions”: cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Crohn's disease, agitation of Alzheimer's disease, nail patella, cachexia or wasting syndrome, severe and chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures, epilepsy, muscle spasms, and Multiple Sclerosis.
In Michigan, patients may possess up to two and one-half (2.5) ounces of usable marijuana and twelve marijuana plants kept in an enclosed, locked facility. The twelve plants may be kept by the patient only if he or she has not specified a primary caregiver to cultivate the marijuana for him or her.
The law was later amended through House Bill 4856, effective December 31, 2012, making it illegal to "transport or possess" usable marijuana by car unless the marijuana is "enclosed in a case that is carried in the trunk of the vehicle."
Violation of the law is a misdemeanor "punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both."
The law was then amended following a Michigan Supreme Court ruling in the State of Michigan vs. McQueen (Decided February 8, 2013) when the court ruled 4-1 that dispensaries are illegal. As a result, medical marijuana patients in Michigan would have to grow their own marijuana or get it from a designated caregiver who is limited to five patients.
The next amendment (House Bill 4834) was effective April 1, 2013, now requires proof of Michigan residency when applying for a registry ID card (driver license, official state ID, or valid voter registration) and makes cards valid for two years instead of one.
House Bill 4851 was the next amendment to the law, effective April 1, 2013, which now requires a "bona fide physician-patient relationship," defined in part as one in which the physician "has created and maintained records of the patient's condition in accord with medically accepted standards" and "will provide follow-up care;" protects patient from arrest only with registry identification card and valid photo ID.
Learning from other states which have successfully implemented medical marijuana programs is certain to benefit Utah’s efforts and by providing Utah lawmakers with these types of articles, groups such as UtahCARE will continue to drive the movement to legalize cannabis throughout the state.
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