Pubdate: Wed, 22 Aug 2012
Source: City Pulse (Lansing, MI)
Copyright: 2012 City Pulse
Author: Sam Inglot
Page: 10


A House Republican introduces medical marijuana legislation that seeks
to survive the "Grandma Test" and allow for locally controlled
dispensaries, er, provisioning centers

Although it probably won't make it into the final language of the
bill, state Rep. Mike Callton said any proposed medical marijuana
"provisioning center" should pass the all-important "Grandma Test."

"If your provisioning center isn't safe enough for your grandma, you
need to work on it. Every place should put it to the Grandma Test," he

Callton, a Republican from Nashville, introduced legislation that
would put medical marijuana dispensaries into law. But they'd go by a
different name: "provisioning centers."

During the height of the medical marijuana dispensary boom, Callton
said he toured quite a few of the shops. He said he got to "understand
what they were trying to do" - put accessible medicine in the hands of
those who truly need it.

Callton is not only a state legislator, he's also a chiropractor.
Because of this, he said, he views medical marijuana dispensaries as a
"patient care issue."

Under his bill, HB 5580, provisioning centers would have safety
standards, cannabis testing standards and would operate under the good
graces of local jurisdictions. Local governments could determine where
the centers would be and how many could operate - or if they want them
at all.

Under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, he said there was no concept
for dispensaries where someone with a doctor's recommendation could
purchase cannabis. This bill would do that. He said he saw several
"professional, doctor office-like" dispensary owners go to jail
because of lack of clarification in the law, which showed him there
was a problem to be addressed when it came to medical marijuana

"You had all those dispensaries along Michigan Avenue. Many of those
are gone. There used to be over 400 in the state. Now there is less
than 100," he said. "If you are still open, it's because you have a
sympathetic sheriff and prosecutor or you're doing such a good job
you've avoided being closed down."

The state statute created patient/caregiver relationships between
those who needed cannabis and those who were willing and able to grow
it. Each caregiver can have up to five patients and can grow 12 plants
for each patient. Patients can also grow up to 12 plants for
themselves if they do not have a caregiver. Callton said this could
create an "overage" problem where the patient or caregiver has too
much cannabis.

"If you're growing 72 plants (the maximum allowed if someone is a
patient and a caregiver for five other patients), it's not always in
synch and you're only allowed to keep so much," he said. "The bill
makes a place for overage to go in a legal way."

Provisioning centers would be allowed under the law to buy up a
caregiver's excess marijuana and sell it to patients who may not have
a caregiver.

Callton said he worked extensively with the medical marijuana
community to change and improve the bill. It's up for a hearing in the
House Judiciary Committee this fall.

"What is my constituency going to think? I'm from a conservative area,
but nearly two-thirds of voters in the state supported the MMMA," he
said. "I don't think there's a constituency issue, I think it's a
political winner. We're seeing a real paradigm shift in thoughts about
medical marijuana.
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