High-profile medical marijuana bills could clear state House panel Tuesday

Dec 9, 2013

Medical marijuana advocates are confident a state House panel will approve a pair of bills Tuesday that would significantly change the way patients can obtain and use cannabis.

Recent court rulings have made it illegal to operate medical marijuana dispensaries in Michigan and for patients to use edible forms of cannabis. House Bill 4271 would revive dispensaries with new regulations, and House Bill 5104 would allow patients to use so-called “medibles”.

Groups lobbying for the bills say support for the bills in the state Legislature has grown significantly.

“The amount of support we’re seeing is really fantastic,” said Robin Schneider with the National Patients Rights Association (NPRA). “And we’re very confident at this point that these bills will be moved out of the House.”

The Legislature is expected to wrap up its work for the year on Thursday. Schneider says she hopes lawmakers feel a sense of urgency to pass the legislation.

“There are more people who are at the end of their life, and they really need to be protected while they access this medicine,” said Schneider. “It helps them get relief from pain. And those people are running out of time.”

“I think, if we can get this out of the House before they go to break, I think that will certainly help us be ready when we return in January to help the patients.”

The state House Judiciary Committee is also considering Senate Bill 660, which could clear the way for pharmacies to sell medical marijuana in Michigan. That would only happen if the federal government decides to regulate cannabis as a prescription drug.