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State board says people with autism should be able to use medical marijuana

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled on a medical marijuana case today.
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The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled on a medical marijuana case today.

A state board has approved adding autism to the list of conditions that can be treated with medical marijuana. The Michigan Medical Marihuana Review Panel voted 4-2 on Friday to make the recommendation.

The final decision will be made by Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Director Mike Zimmer.

Carolyn Gammicchia of Shelby Twp. has a 24 year old son who has severe autism. She wishes marijuana would have been a treatment option earlier.

“When they voted ‘yes,’ it just was such a relief because I have so many friends whose children are on the verge of actually dying – and I can say dying – and were hoping for this,” said a tearful Gammicchia.

“At least give us that option. And I do not think that this is something that’s going to be abused.”

The review panel rejected a previous petition to add autism as a qualifying condition in 2013. A new petition was submitted by attorney Michael Komorn on behalf of a client.

“This is a huge victory,” said Komorn. “It is very meaningful for the state of Michigan – really, nationally. There are parents all over the county that suffer without any answers. They have no hope.  We’ve been contacted by them. And I wouldn’t be surprised if many of them come to the state of Michigan just for that reason alone.”

Some on the Medical Marihuana Review Panel, which is made up mostly of physicians, expressed concerns with using cannabis for autism. They worry it could hurt neurological development in children and teens.

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