Pubdate: Wed, 10 Dec 2008
Source: Blade, The (Toledo, OH)
Copyright: 2008 The Blade
Author: Bruce Mirken


Blade Ombudsman and columnist Jack Lessenberry seems to have
misunderstood virtually every aspect of Michigan's medical marijuana
law and the other 12 states' medical marijuana laws in his Dec. 5
column, "Medical marijuana mess confronts Michiganders."

First, only one aspect of the law is in effect now: Those using
marijuana for medical purposes can now use evidence to that effect as
a defense if they are arrested.

Protection of patients from arrest doesn't take effect till April,
when the state begins issuing ID cards to patients legally authorized
to possess marijuana. No mystery there.

Second, the initiative did indeed specify how patients obtain
marijuana: Just as in the other 12 states, they can grow it themselves
or designate a caregiver to grow it for them. While it would be lovely
if the state government could handle "growing and selling any legally
approved marijuana," federal law makes that impossible at present. But
marijuana, America's top cash crop according to government figures, is
not exactly difficult to obtain for most Americans.

The problem faced by patients who need medical marijuana is the
prospect of arrest and jail for simple possession of their medicine.
That problem will be effectively addressed by Michigan's new law once
it's fully implemented - just as it is effectively addressed in 12
other states today.

Bruce Mirken

Director of Communications

Marijuana Policy Project

Washington, D.C. 
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