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Proposed changes to Michigan's marijuana law hang on lame-duck session's final hours

Dec 17, 2014

The state Senate may vote in the next day or so on major changes to Michigan’s medical marijuana law.

The bills would create a framework for licensing dispensaries and regulating edible forms of marijuana. 

Critics say the legislation is too vague.  

Medical marijuana supporters have been calling for changes to the state medical marijuana law for years.
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

“I think it’s the equivalent of Obamacare in terms of not being vetted properly,” says Terrence Jungel, with the Michigan Sheriff’s' Association. 

But supporters say the legislation has been under development for years and is not being rushed through in the final days of the Legislature’s lame-duck session.

Opponents also say they don’t like that people legally allowed to grow marijuana in Michigan could sell small amounts to dispensaries under the legislation. 

“Nowhere was the original medical marijuana act ever supposed to be a for-profit business,” says Robert Stevenson, with the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police.     

Robin Schneider is with the National Patients Rights Association. She says it’s not fair to prevent caregivers from making some money on surplus medical marijuana. Besides, she says, patients need it. 

“There’s not a marijuana fairy going to fly around and gift the patients with medical marijuana,” says Schneider. 

Schneider says patients are "literally dying" waiting for state lawmakers to make safe medical marijuana more accessible.

If the state Senate doesn’t act on the legislation this week, it dies. 

If the bills are approved, they will head to the governor’s desk.

A spokesman for Gov. Rick Snyder declined to comment on the medical marijuana bills, except to say “The governor’s practice is to thoroughly review bills once they’ve been presented to him before determining whether the bills should be signed into law.”