After the Michigan Supreme Court earlier this year ruled that dispensaries have no legal grounds to operate in the state shutting down all but a handful of dispensaries, thousands of patients were left without a reliable and safe means of accessing medicine.
State lawmakers see that as a problem, and are currently in talks over a bill that would legalize and regulate the dispensaries reports Jake Neher with Michigan Public Radio.
Rep. Mike Calton, a Republican from Barry County, has already sponsored a failed medical marijuana bill this past sesion, but says he is starting to see growing support for a similar proposal – notably from his GOP colleagues.
“I definitely feel that, as Republicans, we’re not going to survive unless we adequately address contemporary issues like medical marijuana,” Calton told MPR.
Calton, a chiropractor by trade, said his last attempt at legalizing dispensaries was sparked by a 75-year-old Parkinson’s disease patient he cares for. Calton says the woman benefits from edible medical cannabis and without dispensaries she would be left without any medicine whatsoever as she doesn’t know any caregivers and can’t grow for herself.
Calton’s original bill, HB 5580, would have allowed for dispensaries and created a state program to regulate them. It also would have allowed communities to limit the number of dispensaries or outright ban them. Employees would have to undergo background checks and anyone with felony convictions would be prevented from operating or working at a dispensary.
He says any future proposals would likely need to include things like mold, mildew and pesticide testing as well as increased security measures in order to get more Republicans on board.
Several news agencies have pointed out that Calton’s bill likely also failed due to it falling on an election year and many legislators didn’t want to make waves while up for reelection. The Michigan legislature is on break until August 27, when the 2013 session resumes from the summer recess.