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Wednesday, September 14,2011

Proposed Legislation

What's up Republicans' sleeves this legislative season?

by Andy Balaskovitz
About midway between the east-facing
Capitol building steps and Capitol Avenue Sept. 7, a tall sign held by
a medical marijuana advocate read: “WHERE ARE THE DEMS TO STOP THIS S_
_ T?”

If the goal is clarifying what seemingly
everyone refers to as an unclear medical marijuana law, it’s a good
question. Of 17 proposed bills this year that would affect medical
marijuana patients and caregivers, all but two have been introduced by
Republicans, including Sen. Rick Jones of Grand Ledge, who has
introduced five of them.


The proposals could have mild to serious
consequences for patients and caregivers. For instance, one proposal
says legal growers can’t violate local zoning ordinances with their
grow operations. On the other hand, others seek to ban
patient-to-patient transfers and eliminate insurance coverage for
medical marijuana.


Here’s a look at what’s been introduced
and now sit in various committees. All 17 of these bills affect medical
marijuana patients and caregivers. Eleven seek to amend the Medical
Marihuana Act, which requires approval from three-quarters of both the
House and Senate:




SENATE


SB 17


Sponsor: Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge


Introduced: Jan. 11


Status: In Committee of the Whole


What is it: Proposes to amend the Public
Health Code by banning medical marijuana “clubs” and “bars.” A club is
defined as “an association of individuals with membership restricted to
those who pay money or any other thing of value to become members, the
purpose of which is to allow more than 1 individual to use marihuana
under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.” A bar is defined as
“property where an individual is allowed to use marihuana under the
Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.” Clubs and bars do not include
state-licensed hospices, nursing homes or property where medical
marijuana is “legally dispensed” under the act. 




SB 321


Sponsor: Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge


Introduced: April 12


Status: In Judiciary Committee


What is it: Proposes to amend the
Insurance Code of 1956 to exclude “the medical use of marijuana” as an
“allowable expense within personal protection insurance coverage.”




SB 377


Sponsor: Darwin Booher, R-Evart (primary); co-sponsored by two Democrats and five Republicans


Introduced: May 12


Status: In Committee of the Whole


What is it: The original version of this
bill proposed passing patient and caregiver information from the
Department of Licensing and Regulating Affairs to the Michigan State
Police within 48 hours of issuing new cards. The State Police would
then make that information immediately accessible to local police
officers. However, amendments made in committee scale back the
proposal, which now says LARA must immediately verify for police
officers whether someone is a patient or caregiver and whether an
address specified by the officer is that of a patient or caregiver.
This bill does not specify how LARA would verify this information
during non-business hours. The legislative analysis of the bill says
that around-the-clock staffing would have an “indeterminate” fiscal
impact on the department.




SB 418


Sponsor: Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge (primary); co-sponsored six other Republicans


Introduced: June 8


Status: In Committee of the Whole


What is it: This bill would amend the
Medical Marihuana Act to essentially shield the state and regulatory
agencies from lawsuits regarding any section of the act. It proposes to
add this language to the scope and limitations: “Nothing in this act
shall be construed to create a private cause of action against this
state or a political subdivision of this state.”




SB 504


Sponsor: Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge (primary); co-sponsored by 10 other Republicans


Introduced: June 21


Status: In Committee of the Whole


What is it: This bill would amend the
Medical Marihuana Act to prohibit medical marijuana transfers between
patients and caregivers less than 1,000 feet from churches or other
houses of worship and schools, unless the transfer occurred in the
house of the patient.




SB 505


Sponsor: Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge (primary); co-sponsored by 10 other Republicans


Introduced: June 21


Status: In Committee of the Whole


What is it: As it reads, the Medical
Marihuana Act prohibits anyone convicted of a drug-related felony from
becoming a primary caregiver. This bill would amend the act to prohibit
someone with a felony of any kind from being licensed as a caregiver.




SB 506


Sponsor: Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw (primary); co-sponsored by 13 other Republicans


Introduced: June 21


Status: In Committee on Health Policy


What is it: This proposed bill would amendment
the Medical Marihuana Act to strictly define what a “bona-fide”
doctor-patient relationship is. Doctors would need to take a medical
history of the patient; perform a physical examination; review prior
treatments and responses; review relevant diagnostic test results;
discuss the “advantages, disadvantages, alternatives, potential adverse
effects, and the expected response” of medical marijuana; monitor the
patient “to determine the response to and any side effects of the
treatment;” create and maintain records for the patients; and notify
the patient’s primary care physician, if there is one. If a doctor
fails to do so, the patient’s registry card is invalid and the doctor
is not protected from civil action “or in a professional disciplinary
or licensing proceeding.”




HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES


HB 4397


Sponsor: Mike Callton, R-Nashville


Introduced: March 8


Status: In Judiciary Committee


What is it: See SB 17 above. This bill would prohibit operating or knowingly allow someone to operate a medical marijuana “bar.”




HB 4463


Sponsor: Marty Knollenberg, R-Troy


Introduced: March 22


Status: In Judiciary Committee


What is it: See SB 505. This bill would
restrict people with any kind of felony, not just drug-related, from
becoming a primary caregiver.




HB 4661


Sponsor: George Darany, D-Dearborn (primary); co-sponsored by two other Democrats


Introduced: May 18


Status: In Judiciary Committee


What is it: This bill seeks to amend the
Medical Marihuana Act by prohibiting qualified patients and caregivers
from growing plants within 500 feet of churches, schools and day care
centers.




HB 4834


Sponsor: Gail Haines, R-Waterford (primary); co-sponsored by one Democrat and 19 Republicans


Introduced: June 29


Status: In Judiciary Committee


What is it: This bill would amend the
Medical Marihuana Act to require patient and caregiver applicants to
submit “2 inch by 2 inch, color photographs” taken within the last six
months. However, the bill does not specify whether the photo will be
printed on state-issued cards. The bill also inserts language similar
to SB 377, which addresses law enforcement access to patient and
caregiver information.




HB 4850


Sponsor: John Walsh, R-Livonia (primary); co-sponsored by four Democrats and 23 Republicans


Introduced: June 30


Status: In Judiciary Committee


What is it: This bill seeks to amend the
Medical Marijuana Act by banning patient-to-patient and
caregiver-to-caregiver transfers, unless those transfers occur between
caregivers and patients connected through the registry. The bill
proposes to permanently revoke state-issued cards if a transfer or
acquisition occurs outside of a caregiver and his or her patients. 




HB 4851


Sponsor: Phil Cavanagh, D-Redford (primary); co-sponsored by 10 Democrats and 18 Republicans


Introduced: June 30


Status: In Judiciary Committee


What is it: See SB 506. This proposed bill details what qualifies as a “bona-fide” doctor-patient relationship.




HB 4852


Sponsor: Eileen Kowall, R-White Lake (primary); co-sponsored by two Democrats and 23 Republicans


Introduced: June 30


Status: In Judiciary Committee


What is it: This proposed bill states
that those legally growing medical marijuana cannot violate a local
zoning ordinance by doing so. It would amend the Medical Marihuana Act,
thus requiring a three-quarters majority vote by the House and Senate.




HB 4853


Sponsor: Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan (primary); co-sponsored by one Democrat and 17 Republicans


Introduced: June 30


Status: In Judiciary Committee


What is it: This bill would make it a felony for “selling marihuana in violation of registry identification card restrictions.”




HB 4854


Sponsor: Joe Haveman, R-Holland (primary); co-sponsored by three Democrats and 29 Republicans


Introduced: June 30


Status: In Judiciary Committee


What is it: This bill would amend the state Penal Code by
banning advertisements “for services as a primary caregiver under the
Michigan Medical Marihuana Act” and that offer to “sell, transfer, or
make available marihuana.” Newspapers and other media outlets — as well
as telephone and Internet service providers — would be exempt from the
law if they “in good faith” did not have knowledge of the advertisement
and “promptly” removed the advertisement.




HB 4856


Sponsor: Ben Glardon, R-Owosso (primary); co-sponsored by four Democrats and 25 Republicans


Introduced: June 30


Status: In Judiciary Committee


What is it: This bill would amend the
state Penal Code by requiring those who can legally transfer medical
marijuana in a motor vehicle to do so by at least one of the following:
in an enclosed case; in the trunk; or any way so that it’s
“inaccessible from the interior of the vehicle.”





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