Could medical marijuana be sold through actual pharmacies in Michigan? That's the hope of a few Michigan lawmakers, who say that the plant should be rescheduled to include it along with other beneficial medicines and have it sold over-the-counter in licensed pharmacies.
The only catch: the feds would have to give their okay first.
Senate Bill 660, written by Michigan state Sens. Roger Kahn and Randy Richardville, would reschedule marijuana as a Schedule II drug, alongside drugs like morphine and OxyContin. Cannabis is currently a Schedule 1 drug, which means it has no medicinal value whatsoever in the eyes of the (clearly shortsighted) federal government.
Kahn, a Republican, says that medical marijuana should be treated like a medicine and therefore have the same strict regulations other drugs have. Kahn's bill would not replace the existing medical marijuana program in Michigan, but would create an alternate, "pharmaceutical-grade" means for patients to procure cannabis.
If passed, patients and caregivers would still be allowed to grow their own supply of medical cannabis under the old system. But if you wanted to access the "pharmaceutical grade" stuff, then you would have to give up your right to grow your own. The bill's sponsors are predictably stretching truths and saying that there's problems with unregulated grows that put the current program at risk.
"There are people out there growing things irresponsibly and people getting sick because of it," Richardville told reporters yesterday. "It's getting into school yards and school kids hands. I wouldn't call that a system. I would call that a problem."
To us, it sounds like a load of crap. Medical patients and their caregivers have the ability to grow the finest quality cannabis in their own homes. Testing and certification through a lab would be nice, but it's not needed and the only people this bill would truly benefit seems to be the pharmaceutical industry that has been pretty much left in the dark in the whole medical marijuana revolution.
If there's any doubt that is the case, just look at who is supporting it: former Michigan House Speaker, Republican Chuck Perricone, who is now part of a government-licensed and tested dispensary in Canada.
"The market for this is virtually untapped," Perricone told MLive.com. "The potential for the product is tremendous."
And this bill seems clearly designed to help drive those profits back into the pharmaceutical company we've been trying to shake for decades with medical cannabis.
Thankfully, the bill is contingent upon the feds rescheduling marijuana - and that doesn't seem to be happening any time soon. But even if it does, Michigan patients would be best served by continuing to grow their own.