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Michigan lawmakers considering controversial changes to medical marijuana rules

Marijuana plants
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
Michigan medical marijuana patients may need to find a new place to get their medication.

State lawmakers are considering new restrictions on caregiver growers who provide medical marijuana for patients.

Michigan voters approved medical marijuana in 2008. Tens of thousands of patients have come to rely on caregivers to grow and prepare the cannabis products they rely on.

Under the proposed Michigan Cannabis Safety Act, rules would be changed that would reduce the number of patients a caregiver could serve from five to one. Otherwise, caregivers would have to pay for a more expensive specialty grower license and product testing.

Cannabis advocate Rick Thompson worries this change would force thousands of medical marijuana patients to turn to the retail market.

“You disadvantage patients by making them pay more for their medicine and giving them an avenue of purchase that doesn’t provide feedback so that they can adjust the cannabis that’s grown to meet their particular health needs,” says Thompson.

Backers say the legislation will rein in Michigan’s unlicensed marijuana market and improve product safety.

Detractors counter the bills are intended to help large marijuana companies.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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