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This photo taken Feb. 13, 2013 shows different strains of medical marijuana products. / Elaine Thompson/Associated PressWritten byKathleen Gray
A bill that would allow for the growing and sale of pharmaceutical-grade marijuana at pharmacies in Michigan passed the state Senate on Wednesday on a 22-16 vote. / Romain Blanquart/Detroit Free PressLANSING — A bill that would allow for the growing of pharmaceutical-grade marijuana and sale at pharmacies in Michigan passed the state Senate on Wednesday on a 22-16 vote.The bill was lauded by supporters as a way to guarantee a safe, tested product for medical marijuana users. But opponents said it did nothing to address shortfalls in Michigan’s current medical marijuana law and would outsource production from home growers to out-of-state corporations.“Why are we spending taxpayer time and resources for an out-of-state corporate constituent who may or may not come to the state,” said Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing. “And we’re not doing squat for anything to help current constituents who cannot access medical marijuana.”The bill was supported in committee last week by Chuck Perricone, who represents Prairie Plant Systems, a Canadian company that grows and sells pharmaceutical cannabis. It was opposed by many who support the original medical marijuana law.■ Related: Battle over local bans on medical marijuana set for Michigan Supreme CourtBut Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw Township, said the bill provides another, safer alternative for medical marijuana users.“It’s a straightforward bill that seeks to treat medical marijuana like other drugs,” he said.And Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, said the bill will begin the process of getting marijuana sales out of homes and into pharmacies.“It’s time to get marijuana out of houses and put it somewhere else,” he said. “Let the pharmaceutical companies grow it and sell it in pharmacies.”The bill doesn’t do anything, however, to stop home growers or care givers from continuing to grow marijuana for people who hold doctor-approved medical marijuana certificates.The bill would: amend the public health code and classify marijuana as a Schedule 2 controlled substance; provide for the licensure and regulation of facilities to grow and test pharmaceutical-grade pot, and allow those facilities to sell the drug to pharmacies to dispense.Medical marijuana users would have to get an additional, enhanced certificate from a doctor in order to be able to buy the drug from a pharmacy. The bill also would restrict the sale of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis to 2 ounces per month, per customer, who is at least 18 years old.The legislation is contingent upon the federal government reclassifying marijuana as a Schedule 2 controlled substance, which would give it medical legitimacy and would allow pharmacies to dispense it. Marijuana is now a Schedule 1 controlled substance, which the federal government still considers an illegal substance with no medical benefit.Whitmer tried to add an amendment that would decriminalize recreational use of marijuana, but that amendment failed on a 22-10 vote.The bill now moves to the House for consideration.
Give a patient meds & he will medicate for a day !
Teach a patient to grow & he will medicate for life !™®