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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 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

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