New Group Aims To Protect Medical Marijuana Patients’ Rights



​Advocates have formed a new Michigan-based medical marijuana coalition, the National Patients Rights Association (NPRA). The group said it will encourage legislators, prosecutors, and local governments to fully honor the decision of citizens who voted to legalize medical marijuana in 16 states and the District of Columbia.

Michigan, whose Medical Marihuana Act was approved by nearly two-thirds of voters (63 percent) in 2008, will be among the first states targeted by the NPRA.
The new group said it is “backed by patients, caregivers, businesses, and a range of other supporters.” The coalition said it “will work to broaden awareness, reach legislators in a targeted manner, and help mobilize patients and caregivers who are affected by these laws.”


​A key objective of NPRA, according to a Monday press release, is to push for definitive regulation in terms of standardization, ranging from safety and storage needs, document management requirements, privacy, and overall industry standards and procedures.
​Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette should not circumvent or undermine state laws for the sake of personal beliefs, according to the NPRA, “and should honor the will of Michigan voters by helping make implementation of the medicinal marijuana law clearer for all involved parties.
The NPRA said it believes the Michigan attorney general is:

The Weed Blog
Attorney General Bill Schuette of Michigan has done all he can to block implementation of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, despite it being approved by 63 percent of the state’s voters

​• Consuming vital public resources by turning medical issues into criminal ones — all the way through our criminal justice system, from police officer to investigator to prosecutor’s offices to our court system
• Politicizing what are societal discussions and decisions regarding how we conduct and administer health care in our society
• Forcing ordinary citizens, many of whom suffer agonizing chronic or constant pain and other serious diseases and disabilities clearly defined by the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, to turn to unsafe and unsavory sources for cannabis
• Encouraging the current climate of enforcement in many individual jurisdictions, which has had a silencing or inhibiting impact on ethical Michigan medical practitioners (and their medical insurers)
• Leading to patients being prescribed much more dangerous (in terms of addiction and side effects), more expensive and less effective therapeutic agents.
Legimate Business Activity

The NPRA pointed out that the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) approved in 2008 by Michigan voters has helped to diversify the state’s economy and subsequently created a new class of entrepreneurs to serve it. Many of these business owners, according to the NPRA, understand that participating in the state economy means paying their fair share of taxes.

CBS Detroit
Northern Lights Hydroponic & Garden Supply revitalized its neighborhood in Madison Heights, Michigan

​The NPRA said it believes that Michigan should consider taxation similar to Colorado. In that state, medical marijuana dispensaries pay sales tax on all transactions, including other retail products they sell. The dispensaries must also apply for a license to operate and pay application fees. These fees fund Colorado’s medical marijuana enforcement division, which regulates the industry.
“The reality is that not all patients and their caregivers have the interest, resources or skills to carefully grow therapeutic-grade medical marijuana,” said Paul Tylender, an attorney from Grosse Pointe, Michigan. “These patients need safe access to medical marijuana that meets the therapeutic objectives of their licensed health care practitioners. The Colorado model combines maximal benefit for patients, tax revenue generation andy appropriate regulation of the program.”
Northern Lights Hydroponic & Garden Supply in Madison Heights, Michigan, which sells hydroponic, indoor and outdoor gardening supplies, is one example of a local business that has significantly grown its customer base as a direct result of the MMMA, according to the NPRA. Having served the area for more than 16 years as Jim’s Flowers, the company recently expanded its operations by taking over an 8,000-square-foot retail space that had been sitting vacant for more than four years.
“Medical marijuana has been beneficial to my horticulture business, because it has allowed me to add income year round,” said Joe Alfery, co-owner of Northern Lights. “I also take pride in the fact that since our business has expanded into a once-empty building, we have helped play a role in the both the beautification of our community as well as become a larger tax contributor to our state.”
For more information about the National Patient Rights Association (NPRA), visit their website at