Before the upcoming vote on recreational cannabis, Michigan is looking to extend its medical marijuana program. To decide which conditions should be added to the list of those qualifying for medical marijuana, the state’s Medical Marihuana Review Panel heard from the public last week. Here’s a look at the conditions that will soon qualify for medical marijuana.
These Conditions Could Soon Qualify For Medical Marijuana
So far, the panel has proposed 22 more conditions to add to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. They include depressive disorders, neurodegenerative conditions and curable and incurable conditions.
The complete list includes chronic and general pain, diabetes, colitis, ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease, organ transplant, brain and spinal cord injuries, OCD, depression, panic attacks, social or general anxiety, arthritis, asthma, Schizophrenia, Tourette’s Syndrome and Parkinson’s Disease.
In total, Illinois residents submitted 115 conditions to the list of ailments that qualify for medical marijuana. But, for the time being, lawmakers are only considering adding 22.
What’s Next for Michigan’s Marijuana Legislation
On May 4th, the panel will reconvene to hear more public suggestions. Afterward, they will approach the director of the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation. Only after the director’s approval will people with these conditions officially qualify for cannabis.
In November, Michigan residents will vote on whether to legalize recreational marijuana. Earlier this week, marijuana advocates submitted 365,000 signatures supporting recreational cannabis. With more than a hundred thousand approvals over the requisite 250,000, it looks like Michigan will vote on marijuana in the fall.
56.6 percent of Michigan residents support legalization, and many others are not opposed to the idea. Since Michiganians feel so strongly about legal recreational weed, Republicans want to legalize marijuana before November. If people come out to support for marijuana in the polls, chances are they will also vote for Democratic candidates. This would be bad news for Michigan’s Republican leadership.
After Last Week, Medical Marijuana Patients Might Have Difficulty Accessing Legal Weed
Since March, the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has closed over 200 dispensaries. The reason? They didn’t apply for a new marijuana retail license. Dispensaries had until February 15th to apply for an official license after the passage of new regulations last year.
Those that did are allowed to stay open while the department deliberates. Law enforcement recently shut down dispensaries that did not fill out the appropriate paperwork.
Public Information Officer for the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs David Harns explains, “Last month we delivered cease and desist letters to facilities that had not applied for state licensure and were not operating with local approval.”
Between shutting these marijuana dispensaries and the issuance of new licenses, there will be a couple hundred fewer options for Michigan’s growing number of medical marijuana cardholders.
Despite Conservative Leadership, Cannabis Is Gaining Ground
Michigan has a Republican Governor and a Republican majority in the state Senate. This has translated to more dispensary regulations and licensing laws, compared to previously lax policies. So far, more legislation has meant more dispensary closures and reduced access to marijuana.
But over half of Michiganders support legalizing marijuana, and many are taking an active role in the political process. As a result, it looks like they’ll be getting an expansion to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act a few months before legalizing adult recreational use.