MI: Medical marijuana advocates rally at Michigan Capitol against proposed changes

MI: Medical marijuana advocates rally at Michigan Capitol against proposed changes
DetroitFreePress / 09,07,2011

Nearly 1,000 people gathered on the steps and lawn of the state Capitol this afternoon to decry attempts to change the medical marijuana law passed by voters in 2008.

With the distinct smell of marijuana in the air and signs declaring “Let My People Grow,” and “Fight Criminals, not Sick People,” the rally was one part “Hash Bash” and one part protest rally.

Speaker after speaker decried the recent raids on medical marijuana dispensaries and efforts made by the legislature and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette to water down the law, which passed with 63% of the vote.

A half-dozen legislators said last month they plan to introduce bills that would:
•Prohibit felons from becoming caregivers.

•Clarify what is a debilitating condition.

•Prohibit dispensaries within 500 feet of a church, school or day care center.

•Require a full physician work up, including medical histories, before a doctor can certify someone as a medical marijuana user.

“If we can get enough letters sent, maybe we can stop some of those bills,” said Corey Thomason, 62, of Three Rivers.

He’s a certified medical marijuana user because of he has Hepatitis C and is a caregiver for one other medical marijuana user.

“The ballot issue was meant to show the feelings of the people,” said Chris Chiles, who’s on the board of directors for Students for Sensible Drug Policy. “We don’t need games or silly bureaucracy.”

Chiles also is organizing a petition drive to repeal an ordinance in Kalamazoo that prohibits medical marijuana dispensaries.

“For this law, every effort by the legislature and by Schuette has been to restrict it,” said Chuck Ream, president of medical marijuana dispensary A2 Compassionate Health Care in Ann Arbor, which was raided and shut down last month. “It’s transparently anti-Democratic to fight this law.”

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