Pubdate: Wed, 10 Aug 2011 Source: Detroit Free Press (MI) Copyright: 2011 Detroit Free Press Contact: http://www.freep.com/article/99999999/opinion04/50926009 Website: http://www.freep.com/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/125 Author: Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press Staff Writer BILLS TACKLE MISUSE OF MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAW, ATTORNEY GENERAL SAYS Michigan's medical marijuana law has been abused, exploited and hijacked by pot profiteers, said state Attorney General Bill Schuette in pushing a package of bills that will close loopholes in the law that was intended to provide pot to people with terminal, debilitating and chronic diseases. "The law has been hijacked by drug dealers who want to make money, line their pockets and make a huge profit," Schuette said at a news conference this morning where he was flanked by lawmakers, police, prosecutors and doctors. "This law has as many holes as Swiss cheese. It's out of control and we need to fix it." Legislators plan to introduce a package of eight bills in the fall that would: prohibit felons from becoming certified caregivers or people from getting medical marijuana certificates on line; strengthen the doctor-patient relationship in terms of giving out and receiving certificates; regulate the placement of medical marijuana dispensaries, prohibit driving under the influence of any amount of marijuana and clarify the definition of a debilitating medical condition that would allow a person to get a medical marijuana certificate. "We have a goal of protecting public safety while preserving the legitimate right of people who need medical marijuana," said state Rep. John Walsh, R-Livonia. State Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, said he'd also like to see a simple saliva test developed, similar to a portable breathalyzer test, that would immediately show if a person is under the influence of pot. Dr. Steven Newman, president of the Michigan State Medical Society, said the law passed in 2008 is poorly worded and has led to confusion for both patients and physicians. "What we're most interested in is getting a bona fide physician-patient relationship that we can define," Newman said. And while the package of bills doesn't specifically address the legality of pot dispensaries, Schuette has argued to the court of appeals that the law doesn't allow for dispensaries and that they should be outlawed. - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.