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Friday, September 30, 2011

I'm Just A Bill by JC Trout

Many of you have recently heard or read some of the bills coming out of our legislative houses here in Michigan. The MMM Report has decided to examine a few of the more important bills coming down the pike and provide information on the feasibility of these bills to pass. This does not mean that the MMM Report has some inside information, but rather using the political landscape as it sits, we may deduce their outcome. However, this is only a forecast.

Senate Bill (SB) 17 was introduced back in January 2011 by Republican sponsors Rick Jones and Grand Ledge. This bill seeks to amend the Public Health Code (PHC) to make Compassion clubs, or “marijuana bars” as they call them, illegal. The concerns brought forth by Jones and Ledge of the Health Policy Committee, was that these establishments allow members to use marijuana on cite, and then drive home. They claim a ban on such clubs would improve public safety. This bill has been tabled in Committee of the Whole for quite some time. While the bill is not dead, it would seem logical that the Republicans would not bring this issue back to the floor without some assurance that the bill would pass. So far, it cannot be seen that the Republicans would be able pass this legislation without Democratic support. It is probable that this bill will eventually die.

SB 377 Originally this bill sought to forward personal patient and caregiver information to Michigan State Police within 48 hours after the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) has issued a new card. Apparently, wiser minds prevailed and amended the proposal to the basic set-up already in place. It has always been established that a police

SB 418 is a major Republican backed bill that would remove the citizenry from suing the state and regulatory agencies regarding any part or section of the MMMA. Essentially, the bill seeks to keep the people from exercising their rights; especially those that keep governmental powers in check. This bill will only have a chance to pass if Dems supported it. It is unlikely though, due to the fact that essentially this

SB 506 This bill would require patients to prove a legitimate relationship with their doctor. The doctor would have “to take a medical history of the patient, perform a physical exam, review prior treatments and responses; review relevant diagnostic test results; discuss the ‘advantages, disadvantages, alternatives, potential adverse effects, and the expected response’ of medical marijuana; monitor the patient ‘to determine the response to and any side effects of the treatment;’ create and maintain records for the patients; and notify the patient’s primary care physician, if there is one. If a doctor fails to do so, the patient’s registry card is invalid and the doctor is not protected from civil action ‘or in a professional disciplinary or licensing proceeding.’”

While this bill seems to have good intentions, it is specious. The long-term relationship with a doctor coupled with the necessary tests and documentations only proves to be nothing more than a monetary obstacle for the poor and the uninsured of our state. This type of economic segregation will most likely will not be supported by the Dems. Even if the bill does gain traction, it would be hard to see this bill in the Committee of the Whole anytime soon. Even still, the bill would need to be amended to find bipartisan support. As is, the bill will probably die in the Committee on Health Policy.

HOUSE OF
REPRESENTATIVES
House Bill (HB) 4834 This bill correlates with SB377, which provides law enforcement access topersonal information of patients and caregivers. This bill would require a 2 inch square picture to be placed on patient and

HB 4850 Of all the bills mentioned, this house bill seeks to change your everyday use and acquisition of medical marijuana. The bill would ban patient-topatient and caregiver-to-caregiver transfers outside of those patients and caregivers that are registered together under the MMMA. Further, this amendment to the MMMA would permanently revoke patient and caregiver identification cards if acquisition occurred  outside of the registered relationship. This bill is frightening because of the amount of support it has already garnered in the Judiciary Committee with 23 Republicans and four Democrat s co-sponsoring it. If this bill were to pass it would not only rewrite a considerable amount of the MMMA, but would again tighten the accessibility of medication to patients as well as mar economic growth in this state. Luckily this vote would require ¾ majority, which is pretty hard to achieve even with support.

HB 4854 This bill seeks to stop caregivers from advertising. Amending the state Penal Code, this Republican backed bill would essentially put medical marijuana in the same realm as liquor and tobacco. Again, the bill seeks to segregate the medical community from participating in the same advertising that drug companies enjoy in all realms of media. Hmm…I wonder who the constituents of these Republicans might be. Either way this bill has a shot to pass, especially if the Dems give greater support. Right now it is in the Judiciary Committee, and will be a little time before we see it in the Committee of the Whole.

While the MMM Report hopes you found some of this information useful, we would urge you to keep writing, calling, emailing and bothering your local representatives. It is only when we are actively involved in our government that we are able to effect any change. We have come a long way to gain these rights, do not allow them to be ripped from us without a fight. “This aggression cannot stand.”

JC Trout

Mother Natures Corner by Debi Bair

Hello, welcome back to mother natures corner. This month I’d like to introduce you to the healing herb Golden Rod. The botanical name, Solidago Canadensis or Solidago Virgaurea, is from theasteracea family, the name Solidago means to make “whole”. With the chill of autumn in the air,
a field of golden rod is one of my favorite sights, they resemble a field of sunshine. She is a beautiful perennial herb usually growing up  to four feet tall, with alternating leaves and a large plum of golden glory on the top. These golden plums flower from the top to the bottom. The flowers can be used for tanning leather or dying cotton and wool, just cook the flowers in simmering water for one hour. This versatile herb can also be used as a food source. You may add the fresh leaves and flowers in salad, If you love cooked greens, try preparing the leaves as you would spinach for a new treat.

Golden Rod has been used for years in her native Europe as a diuretic to treat and prevent urinary tract infections as well as kidney stones.
Golden Rod is filled with bioflavanoids (immune
boosting antioxidant) which also help strengthen veins and capillaries making her a good choice for those who suffer with varicose veins. The tea of golden rod is also great support in treating tuberculosis, diabetes, an enlarged liver, gout, hemorrhoids, internal bleeding, asthma and arthritis. She is also a nourishing ally for upper respiratory infections with mucous build up. The tea is also excellent for muscle spasms, restless leg syndrome and it lowers your blood pressure! Externally, she helps with the skin condition eczema, slow healing wounds, insect bites, ulcers,sore throat (gargle) as well as yeast infections. German researchers have found the saponins (chemical compound found in plants) in the leaves of this herb showed cytoxicity (toxic to the cells) toward tumor cells associated with prostate, breast, melanoma, and lung cancers.

In conclusion, I hope the next time you see Golden Rod, you smile at her golden
flags she waves with the wind. Please keep in mind, rag weed blooms at the same time as golden rod in our area, so don’t shun this golden gift, you probably aren’t allergic to her. As with all of mother natures gifts, please consult your physician prior to usage and for dosing instructions.

Until next time my friends, get out there and get harvesting.

Debi Bair

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Renee Wolfe: The story of the freedom fighter.

Renee Wolfe was born in 1960. She is amother of four proud children ages 12 to 25, and a role model for medical marijuana activist. Renee has been using marijuana for over thirty years. She calls herself Grandma Marijuana”. Ann Arbor has been her residence for the last eight years. She is a member of NORML and CALM (Coalition Advocating Legal Marijuana).
Renee has battled muscular sclerosis since 1979. With MS, every case is unique. She was diagnosed with chronic pain initially, but it did progress. After being diagnosed, Renee started smoking marijuana to escape the reality that was her life. She realized immediately that marijuana helped her symptoms. She stated “I can walk better when I smoke”. Renee is able to move, because when she doesn’t have  medication, she cannot move at all. Renee was previously a homemaker raising her children prior to MS. With two teenagers living in the house, MS affects her ability to care for them. She has help. She had to get divorced to full Social Security benefits, but she and her former husband are still together.” You do what you have to do”. She also is able to receive Medicare after the divorce. She can now take care of herself although her ex-husband does the cleaning and the cooking. The only downfall of smoking marijuana was the police. Never one to hide her opinion, Renee was arrested in 1985 for smoking a joint in the face of law enforcement. She was sentenced to fifty hours of community service and now has a felony on her record.

More trouble came when her youngest child became nauseas and she gave him marijuana. The state heard about that  and she lost custody of her son. Her ex-husband, who is still with her, hascustody.

Renee was a key member in the push to get medical marijuana on the ballot. She spoke in front of the House of Representatives to help pass the marijuana law. She attends every march and rally that she can and refers to her fellow protesters as “brothers”. Renee Wolfe was at the head of the line at the state Department of Community Health in Lansing, making her the first patient to receive a medical marijuana card in the state. As she rolled in her wheelchair up to the counter, a round of applause echoed through the room. No one could have been happier.

Renee does not need a wheelchair anymore but she still uses a scooter to get around. Marijuana has stabilized the progression of her MS. Her future wishes for Michigan: she would like to see the people get their medicine at an affordable rate and free is the best rate she can think of. She believes we should all grow our own. Eliminate the middle man. Take the black market out of the
picture.

by Erikush Growski

Ann Arbor Conference - A look back from a great weekend

Patients, caregivers, lawyers, industry leaders and supporting community activists gathered together to meet in Ann Arbor last month to discuss the state of affairs. In the few short years following the passing of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, several related organizations have developed a presence to support various folks involved in the medical marijuana program. This was one of the few times since where the leaders of the MM related groups have had a sit down to focus on the challenges facing patients and caregivers in the future.

The Clarion Hotel and Conference Center just outside of the downtown area was the venue, and the staff was very compassionate towards the attendants of the conference. The conference brought dozens of MM businesses to the event. In the vendors room many interesting booths displayed a variety of industry related products. Doctor referrals and grow classes were also provided. Master of Ceremonies for the event was Ann Arbor activist and Hash Bash director, Adam Brook.

In the epicenter of the event was a series of panel discussions in which the most competent and articulate experts related to the theme of the conference, took place. Each panel was comprised of four experts and a moderator. Topics included; MM and municipalities, roles of compassion clubs and dispensaries, the effects of the drug communication between the various groups and individuals that in the past may have not always seen eye-to-eye. As the event progressed a cooperative spirit and sense of unity transcended into the hearts and minds of many that came. Unified and dedicated to the cause, all leaders agreed to join
forces to rally at the Lansing Capitol on September 7th to protest the proposed legislation that seeks to undermine the Michigan Medical Marijuana act. The rally will be held on the steps of the Capital building at high noon and all who have an interest in protecting the rights of patients are encouraged to come out in support.
Readers that are interested in seeing some of the panel discussions can view or download footage of the discussions of the event at this publications website. The video will be used to compile a documentary on the MMM community and the challenges facing patients and caregivers in the future.

By Ben Horner