Proos applauds clarification of medical marijuana law

LANSING – State Sen. John Proos today applauded a recent Michigan appeals court ruling clarifying certain portions of the state’s medical marijuana law and reiterated his support for legislation to further clarify the law and close existing loopholes.

“Confusion about Michigan’s medical marijuana law has effectively tied the hands of local community officials and law enforcement,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “I applaud the appeals court for clearing up much of the ambiguity in the law with regards to legally selling marijuana.”

The Michigan Court of Appeals clarified in August that the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) does not permit the sale of medical marijuana between patients, and therefore that dispensaries who participate in this type of sale are not acting in compliance with the law as voted upon by Michigan voters.

The MMMA does allow qualified patients to grow a limited number of plants for their use. Caregivers may grow up to 72 plants for themselves and up to five other patients.

“While this ruling is a positive step, it may be appealed. To give our communities and public safety officials the long-term clarity they need, we must reform the law,” Proos said. “That is why I have co-sponsored several bills in the Senate to make it clear what is intended under the act. These reforms include clearly stating that driving after using marijuana is illegal and making it a felony to falsely obtain a medical marijuana card.

“The purpose is to protect the safety of our roads and communities and ensure that medical marijuana is only being used by patients with chronic pain – not being exploited by healthy people as a way to obtain the drug for recreational use.”

The bills under consideration would also prohibit felons from becoming caregivers and allow local officials to regulate legal dispensary locations. Since the MMMA was a voter-initiative, many of the reforms would require support from three-quarters of both legislative chambers to be approved.

“I think the vast majority of Southwest Michigan residents would agree that initiative was intended to allow chronically-ill patients to use the drug and was not meant to allow marijuana to be sold near schools,” Proos said. “As a lawmaker and father, I will work to keep pot away from our kids by enacting commonsense clarifications to the medical marijuana law.”