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Medical marijuana is top priority for House panel in December

Marijuana plant
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Voters approved the use of medical marijuana in 2008.

Medical marijuana could be a hot topic in the state Legislature before the end of the year.

House Judiciary Committee Chair Kevin Cotter (R-Mount Pleasant) says his top priority next month is to take up three medical marijuana-related bills.

The first, House Bill 4271, would revive medical marijuana dispensaries in Michigan after recent court rulings effectively stopped the facilities from operating in the state.

“I want to take a closer look at medical marijuana distribution in light of the Supreme Court decision,” said Cotter. “And so, I expect that we’ll be able to take a look at that in the couple of session weeks that we have remaining.”

He says one of the most important discussions will be whether to require facilities to test their products.

“I think there seems to be broad agreement, or at least everybody agrees it makes sense that, especially when you have patients that could potentially have depressed immune systems already, if they are exposed to mold or pesticides, I think it’s just intuitive that that could present some issues. And so, we want to look at that.”

Cotter also plans to take up two other medical marijuana-related bills. House Bill 5104 would allow patients to use edible forms of marijuana. And Senate Bill 660 would clear the way for pharmacies to sell medical marijuana in Michigan, but only if the federal government decides to regulate cannabis as a prescription drug.

State lawmakers are expected to meet for two more weeks before the end of the year after they return from their Thanksgiving break.