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Medical marijuana bills headed to governor’s desk

marijuana leaves
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The DEA announced that marijuana will continue to classified as a Class I drug stating the drug has "has no accepted medical use in the United States."

Big changes may be on the horizon for medical marijuana in Michigan.

Wednesday the State House voted in favor of a package of bills that would legalize edibles and require medical marijuana clinics be licensed and pay sales tax. The bills have already made their way through the Senate and are now on their way to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk for consideration.

The bills would require medical marijuana clinics be licensed and pay sales tax. The bills would also legalize non-smokable forms of marijuana like edibles and oils. 

Bill package sponsor, Representative Mike Callton, R-Nashville, calls the legislation his “opus” and says the vote was five years in the making.

“We had to bring a lot of different groups together,” he said after the vote. “This wasn’t a bill where just through the force of my dynamic personality I was going to shove it through. No way.”

Although those in voting in favor of the bills crossed party lines, not everyone was happy with the legislation. Some opponents, like Rep. Frank Liberati, D-Allen Park, say marijuana should not be taxed if it’s being used medicinally.

Speaking before the vote, Liberati said, “I’m not denying the proven medical benefits of cannabis, I’m pointing out the hypocrisy of calling it a medicine and then slapping an excise tax on it.”

Other opponents of the bills say they are taking the state too close to full legalization of marijuana. But Callton says these bills will help sick patients, not authorize recreational use. He also sees the passage of the bills as a sign of the times.

“Things really have changed in the last five years, the way people think about marijuana, medical marijuana, recreational marijuana,” he said. “I think the public has become more sophisticated to understand the difference between recreational and medical marijuana.”

Callton said he believes Snyder will sign the bills into law.