We are down to the final two days of the 2014 legislative session in Michigan, and this is the last opportunity to pass two critically important bills. HB 5104 would protect patients who consume non-smoked forms of marijuana, while HB 4271 would create clear legal protections for medical marijuana provisioning centers (dispensaries) to ensure patients have safe and regular access to medical marijuana.
Both bills must pass out of the Senate committee and receive a vote on the floor before time runs out on Thursday. Law enforcement has been lobbying hard against these compassionate measures, and it’s crucial your senator hears from you. If you are a Michigan resident, please ask your senator to support these bills and demand that the Senate take up both measures today.
Currently, non-smoked forms of marijuana are not considered “usable marijuana,” and therefore can’t be legally consumed by those who prefer not to smoke –- sometimes leading to tragic consequences. At the same time, provisioning centers do not have clear protections under Michigan law, which harms patients who should have safe, regulated access to medicine. These bills both make huge improvements for patients. Both passed by wide margins in the House, and now we are down to the final steps in the Senate.
In Michigan on Tuesday, Sen. Rick Jones’s SB 783 passed the Senate with a vote of 31 to 7. This bill — which is now pending in the House Judiciary Committee — would allow landlords to prohibit medical marijuana cultivation and smoking in the privacy of one’s residence. Meanwhile, more sensible bills including HB 4271 and HB 5104, which protect patient access, currently languish in committee.
This bill would allow landlords to prohibit marijuana cultivation as well as smoking — but not vaporizing — when a lease specifically limits these activities. Those who violate a lease would be subject to sanctions, taking patient rights backwards to the days before the current law was passed in 2008. This bill would limit these rights without addressing fundamental problem in Michigan’s law — the lack of safe and regular access through state-legal provisioning centers and protections for non-smoked forms of the medicine.
The Detroit Free Press published a story Monday reporting that two key medical marijuana bills, HB 4271 and HB 5104, may be stalled in the Senate. Senate Government Operations Committee Chair, Randy Richardville, indicated he intends to “sit on them for a while” in his committee. Please politely and respectfully let Sen. Richardville know that Michigan’s patients need safe, reliable access to their medicine now.
If you are a Michigan resident, please take a moment to call or send an email to Senator Richardville today and voice your concern. If you have time to write a handwritten letter, it will have the most impact. You can write Sen. Richardville at: P.O. Box 30036, Lansing, MI 48909-7536.
HB 4271 would ensure patients have safe and regular access to medical marijuana by clearly protecting medical marijuana provisioning centers (dispensaries) in communities that allow and regulate them. HB 5104 would extend the protections currently in place for smoked forms of marijuana to marijuana extracts, a key ingredient in topical applications, tinctures, and other medical marijuana products. As both Senate majority leader and chair of government operations, Sen. Richardville’s support is critical.
The Michigan House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed two important bills today. HB 4271, sponsored by Rep. Mike Callton, would allow local governments to license and regulate dispensaries. HB 5104, sponsored by Rep. Eileen Kowall, would extend the protections currently in place for smoked forms of marijuana to marijuana extracts, a key ingredient in topical emollients, edibles, and tinctures.
The dispensary bill received a landslide vote of 94-14, while the vote for the extracts bill was an even more lopsided 100-9 in favor. We wish to thank both Rep. Callton and Rep. Kowall for sponsoring these important pieces of legislation, and thanks to the many groups, lobbyists, and patients who supported this effort. Great work!
The bills will now be transmitted to the Senate. Stay tuned for more alerts as progress on these bills continues.
Last year, the Michigan Legislature passed a series of bills tweaking Michigan’s voter-approved medical marijuana law, and most of those changes took effect yesterday. Among other things, the law now defines and requires a “bona fide physician-patient relationship” — which includes an in-person evaluation — between a patient and recommending physician. Also, newly issued registry ID cards will be valid for two years instead of only one. A requirement that patients transporting marijuana by vehicle keep it in a case in the trunk took effect in January.
Here’s our handout with full summaries of these new laws. More information, including new forms anyone applying for or renewing a registry ID card will need to use, is available at the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website.
One change that we hope will take effect soon is state and locally recognized dispensaries. State Rep. Mike Callton (R-Nashville) and 16 other representatives are sponsoring HB 4271, which would allow cities and towns to choose whether or not to recognize and regulate dispensaries. If you are a Michigan resident, please ask your legislators to give patients more options for access by voting “yes” on HB 4271.