Pot Protests Over Michigan's Restrictive Medical Marijuana Reform

 The fight over changes to the Michigan's medical marijuana law is heating up in Lansing.

More than 150 medical marijuana supporters gathered at the state capitol Tuesday to demonstrate against a suite of bills that would tighten regulations on medical marijuana, MLive reports.

HB 4834 would require Michigan Marijuana patients to have photo ID on their registry identification card, make the card valid for two years and privatize parts of the registration process. It would aslo allow law enforcement access to information about patients on the registry.

HB 4851 would offer stricter guidelines for the "bona fide physician-patient relationship" as it relates to medical marijuana use, including requiring an in-person physical examination of patients.

HB 4853 would put the penalty for selling marijuana without a proper registry identification card within the sentencing guidelines for a two-year felony.

And HB 4856 would criminalize the transportation of medical marijuana in a motor vehicle under certain conditions.

“It’s about protecting a sick patient,” Rep. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, a co-sponsor of the package, said of the reforms back in March. "They have the right [to medical marijuana use] under the law, so we're going to make sure they feel safe in their own state."

A letter sent to state representatives by the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association opposing the bills disagreed with this position, calling the reform package "a needless infringement on patient privacy and rights."

"The proposed Bills do nothing to recognize the [Michigan Medical Marihuana Act] as a private health issue rather than a public safety issue," the letter read. "The four bills ... which suggest an attempt to "fix" the Medical Marihuana Act do nothing to address the real concerns of patients and caregivers."

Struggles over Michigan's marijuana laws and enforcement have grown increasingly heated the state legislature and state Attorney General Bill Schuette have attempted to restrict the scope of the state's Medical Marihiuana Act. Pro-marijuana activists have pushed back against these efforts with a statewide campaign to legalize pot and local efforts to decriminalize the herb

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Posted at April 24, 2012, 8:52am