Update of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act

On June 11, 2009, the Substantive Law Committee of the Health Care Law Section of the Michigan State Bar held a teleconference on the recent Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. Included amongst the presenters was Melanie Brim, the current Director of the Bureau of Health Professions at the Michigan Department of Community Health. Ms. Brim indicated that once the ballot initiative was passed, the Department was faced with an expedited timeframe in which to promulgate the governing provisions of the Act, shortening the typical timeframe of 12 to 18 months to just 4 months. This expedited timeframe may explain why the provisions of the Act are silent on many key issues–leaving many unanswered questions. The biggest question that remains unanswered is: how does a qualified patient obtain the marijuana? Absent any legal authority or guidance to enable her to provide an answer, Ms. Brim simply responded: “the same way you got it prior to the ballot initiative.” With 50 to 75 patients applying per day for registration to legally use marijuana for certain pre-approved medical conditions, the number of unanswered questions regarding this Act are likely to continue to rise. To date, approximately 2,377 applications have been received by the Department. Despite these growing numbers, the FDA maintains that smoking marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S., and has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.

For more information, please call Abby Pendleton, Esq., Robert Iwrey, Esq., Adrienne Dresevic, Esq., Carey F. Kalmowitz, Esq. or Jessica L. Gustafson, Esq. at (248) 996-8510 or visit The HLP website.

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