Marijuana Journal is a weekly column tracking the implementation of the state medical marijuana law. Francisco is the executive director of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association. This column also appears online every Monday.
The revised rules for the state medical marijuana program were released last week, and we could not be more pleased.
Gone from the new rules are the objectionable provisions contained in the Dec. 5 draft. Gross violations of patient privacy, plant production logs and inventories, defining private homes as public space are all gone.
(To read the new rules, go to: http:// www.michiganmedicalmarijuana.org/ node/1145.)
The Dec. 5 rules did not match with the law voters approved in November. Nowhere in the law was it envisioned that patients would be forced to disclose private information to authorities, that patients cultivating their own medicine would be subject to random searches, nor that they be compelled to hand over to law enforcement written documentation of their inventories, which was equivalent to documenting a federal crime. The state Department of Community Health was put on notice at the Jan. 5 hearing by medical marijuana patients and advocates that it was overreaching its authority.
Fortunately, state administrators were willing to listen and talk to leaders within our activist community. Over the last six weeks, there has been considerable discussion as both sides sought common ground. And we really did agree on much more than we disagreed. We all want to live in an orderly society — no one wants to arrest or exploit cancer patients. We all agree that like or loathe the law, it is the law. It is in everyone’s best interest that implementation go smoothly.
The revised administrative rules much more accurately reflect the will of the voters. Patient privacy is protected, common-sense prohibitions on using marijuana in public are preserved and sensible limits are put on the possession, transfer and use of medical marijuana. But the bottom line is that patients and caregivers who stay within the limits of the law will be protected from arrest and harassment. And that is exactly what voters approved.
To learn more about the rights and responsibilities of patients under the Michigan Medical Marijuana program visit our Web site at: www.MichiganMedicalMarijuana.org.