On November 4, Proposal 1 to legalize medicinal marijuana passed in Michigan by a landslide, capturing 63 percent of the vote. But don’t expect to see any “pot shops” on State Street — it’s not California.
The new proposal is not a green light to grow pot, even if you’re feeling faint or feverish.
Under Michigan’s proposal, a person must have a debilitating illness including cancer, glaucoma, Crohn’s Disease, Hepatitis C, or AIDS in order to qualify for medical marijuana. Of the ten million people living in Michigan, only about 50,000 are eligible to use marijuana.
But simply having one of these diseases isn’t enough to be able to grow marijuana legally, said Chris Chiles, executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy.
“You’d need to have a written doctor’s recommendation and then you’d need to apply for an ID card with the Department of Community Health,” he said.
Chiles said if the patients are unwilling or unable to grow the marijuana for themselves, they could designate a caregiver to grow it for them.
“If a person is not qualified under this initiative to be a patient and they choose to be a caregiver, they have to have a designated patient and the ID card of that patient to grow the marijuana for them,” he said.
However, not just anyone can be a caregiver.
The caregiver is chosen by the patient and must be at least 21 years old with no prior felony convictions involving drugs. Once the patient chooses a caregiver, the caregiver has to follow the same rules for growing the plants as patients under the legislation, including registering with the Department of Community Health.
“They can cultivate 12 plants in a locked facility and possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana,” Chiles said. “The caregivers can only have up to five patients.”
Public Health Prof. Donald Vereen told The Michigan Daily earlier this month that he’s worried about how the initiative will be implemented because it doesn’t specify how patients would get marijuana in the first place.
“I would be much more supportive of the bill if it at least acknowledged the risk that because marijuana — because it should be available to these folks who are suffering legitimately — it puts young people more at risk.” he said.