Why Michigan’s medical marijuana law is so cloudy

BY DAWSON BELL

DETROIT FREE PRESS LANSING BUREAU

It might seem odd that the pro-medical marijuana authors of Michigan’s medical marijuana act didn’t include explicit language authorizing the sale of marijuana to medical marijuana patients.

Not really, said Karen O’Keefe, a Michigan native and state policy director for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington and lead writer of the 2008 voter-approved initiative.

At the time, though a dozen states had legalized medical marijuana in some form, “there wasn’t a commercial model” anywhere in the country, O’Keefe said Thursday.

Retail, dispensary-style sales were occurring in California and were controversial, she said. But the threat of federal drug prosecution there and in other medical marijuana states made it difficult to craft language that would pass muster, she said.

“We didn’t spell anything out.”

Since then, O’Keefe said, eight states and dozens of communities have adopted a regulatory framework — with many specifically authorizing dispensaries — to allow medical marijuana patients to buy their medicine.

Michigan would benefit from such language, said O’Keefe, a graduate of Grosse Pointe South High School and Michigan State University.

But, with widespread hostility toward medical marijuana from law enforcement and legislators, she said she’s not optimistic that sales will be permitted anytime soon.

“We need to be asking ourselves if we want (patients) to get it from criminals,” she said.

Contact Dawson Bell: 517-372-8661 or moc.s1487841620serpe1487841620erf@l1487841620lebd1487841620

 

For more please visit: http://www.freep.com/article/20110826/NEWS06/108260403/Why-Michigan-s-medical-marijuana-law-cloudy

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