Changes to Michigan’s marijuana caretaker system in Lansing proposed
WALLED LAKE, Mich. (WXYZ) – It’s Wednesday afternoon in the Walled Lake greenhouse and business is booming.
The store is Oakland County’s first licensed medical and recreational marijuana location. The dozens of products on the shelves are all regulated by state laws.
“All of these products are tested, cleaned, manufactured in state-licensed facilities and grown in state-licensed facilities,” said partner Frank Marra.
Another group called Caregivers also offers medicinal cannabis products. These breeders are currently allowed up to 60 plants and 5 patients. However, a new bill in Lansing would limit the number of patients per carer to one.
Rick Thompson is a former supervisor and executive director of NORML Michigan, an organization fighting this law. He says restricting caregivers would have many negative effects on medical patients.
“It would be a lot harder for patients to find the drugs they need and it would be a lot more expensive,” Thompson said. “This is not a hypothesis, this is reality.”
Thompson appeared at a state committee hearing last week that included supporters of the bill.
“The persistence of unlicensed and untested nurse cannabis in the totally illegal marketplace has inundated the regulated system,” said Stephen Linder, director of the Michigan Cannabis Manufacturers Association.
Linder says the package of laws known as the Michigan Cannabis Safety Act would make the market safer by restricting these smaller, unlicensed growers.
“These bills create a system where all cannabis sold is tested for safety for sick use,” Linder said during the testimony.
However, Thompson argues that caregivers have been on duty since 2008 and are not the source of the problem.
“In the 12-year history of nurses in Michigan, there has been no record of bad behavior by the nurses themselves,” Thompson said. “There are some people who don’t follow the guidelines, but these are the fringes and we already have rules to compensate for the punishment of these special people.”
Although these bills could mean more business for greenhouse, the owners say they are against the restriction of caregivers. Instead, they want stronger enforcement of existing laws against those who abuse the system.
“We support nursing staff. We support their ability to grow this plant to help the people, but what we do not support is the black market, which is thriving right now, ”said Marra. “Behind the term” supervisor “is a huge segment of the black market, and what they bring out there are untested products, mislabeled products, they don’t check IDs, they sell fake products. Enforcement has to happen and that’s what isn’t happening right now. “