On Thursday, a Michigan official denied an application to add autism to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in the state.
Detroit Free Press reports:
The decision followed three years of efforts by parents of autistic children, their lawyers and supporters to have Michigan become the first state to specify that marijuana could be used to treat autism.
Mike Zimmer, appointed in December as director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs — LARA — said he was concerned that an approval would apply not just to serious cases of autism but to all cases. And he said that parents applying to use medical pot would need the approval of two medical doctors, yet there was no requirement that either doctor be experienced in treating autism.
No state specifically allows medical cannabis for autism, although California and Washington, D.C., allow using the drug for any condition that a medical doctor believes it may help, said Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, a nonprofit group that favors legalizing marijuana.
A bill that would broaden Michigan’s medical marijuana act to allow other forms of medical pot — House Bill 4210, sponsored by state Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, R-Alto — has been in the House Judiciary Committee since February, after a similar bill failed to pass last year.
While this is disappointing, it does provide a road map of sorts for a successful application next time. Hopefully, autism sufferers will soon be able to access medical marijuana in Michigan.
Late last week, the director of Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, accepted a recommendation that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”) be added as a qualifying condition for Michigan’s medical marijuana program. This makes Michigan the eighth state where patients with PTSD qualify to use medical marijuana.
Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Director Steve Arwood issued a press release last Friday, stating that he has decided to approve the recommendation, despite stating several concerns. Mr. Arwood ultimately chose to put his “trust in the medical professionals in Michigan to certify the use of medical marihuana for PTSD with the utmost care and attention to the patient seeking assistance.”
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, PTSD will affect 7-8% of Americans at some point in their lives. In Michigan, that’s about three quarters of a million people. PTSD can be debilitating in all areas of a person’s life, impacting sleep, work, and relationships.
This decision would not have been made without all those who provided comments in support of adding PTSD to the medical marijuana program.