LANSING, MI — A little more than a week after the state Supreme Court ruled that Michigan’s medical marijuana law doesn’t allow for dispensaries, a state lawmaker is ready to file a bill that would allow cities and counties to approve them via local option.
State Rep. Mike Callton (R-Nashville) said he will introduce House Bill 4271 Tuesday. The bill already has bipartisan support, with eight Democrat and eight Republican cosponsors.
A similar bill died in committee last year, and medical marijuana foe Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) has said no further medical marijuana bills are needed this year, but Callton told the Lansing State Journal he thought the measure would fare better this time around.
“I’m a Republican and I’m from a conservative area, but I’ve seen growing support from a lot of other legislators for this from both parties,” Callton said. “And now, with this court ruling, it becomes much more important. I want people to be able to take a recommendation for (marijuana) from their doctor and be able to go to what we’re calling a provisionary center.”
Not only has Schuette come out against any new medical marijuana bills, his office will this week send out letters to all 83 county prosecutors instructing them to shut down anything resembling a dispensary, his office said on Friday.
Between the state Supreme Court ruling and Schuette’s aggressive posture, Michigan dispensary operators—there may be as many as a hundred statewide—are running scared. Many have closed their doors, while others remain open only on the down low.
“Nobody I know in this state is advertising this service anymore—it’s all going to be word-of-mouth from now on,” said Holice Wood, owner of a compassion club, told the State Journal.
The state’s 125,000 registered medical marijuana patients now must grow their medicine themselves, rely on a caregiver (limited to no more than five patients), or resort to the black market. Patients need safe access to their medicine, they said.
“It’s cost-prohibitive to grow this yourself, and it’s labor intensive,” said Alec McKelvey Jr., 41, of Warren, a state-registered patient who uses marijuana to fight the side effects of cancer treatments. “You have to spend hundreds of dollars on equipment and really know what you’re doing to get a quality plant that has no parasites or mold—that would make my health worse,” McKelvey said.
Michigan lawmakers are also considering a separate proposal that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana in the state.