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Wednesday, March 13,2013

For patients’ rights

Medical marijuana advocates rally against the Legislature’s latest plans

by Andy Balaskovitz
Andy Balaskovitz/City Pulse

Wednesday, Sept. 19 — Daniel Grow came to the Capitol today bearing bad news for medical marijuana advocates.


Grow, a Kalamazoo-based attorney who represents former Wal-Mart manager Joseph Casias, announced to a few hundred people rallying at the Capitol today that his client had suffered another recent setback in court. Casias — and the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act — were thrust into the national spotlight a few years ago after he was fired from his job for legally using cannabis to treat sinus cancer and a brain tumor.


Grow said he learned this morning that the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision to dismiss Casias’ claim that he was wrongfully fired. Grow said the court also found that the state’s medical marijuana law does not create rights for employees if the employer has a drug-free work policy.


Casias’ case now, though there might be slim chances for an appeal, doesn’t look promising, Grow said. “This might be the end of the line for Joseph.”


And Grow’s speech today before hundreds of medical marijuana advocates underscored the crowd’s frustration with what the state Legislature has planned. Today’s rally was in opposition to a pending four-bill package that opponents say unfairly singles out patients, particularly as it relates to doctor-patient relationships and police access to patient information.the_hippie_crowdWEB.jpg


However, it’s unlikely that the Senate will take up the package before the Nov. 6 election. See more in political columnist Kyle Melinn’s story in this week’s City Pulse. (http://npaper-wehaa.com/citypulse#2012/09/19/?article=1684054)


Today’s rally also featured Michigan attorneys who specialize in the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, as well as out-of-state advocates who say they’re tracking the movement in Michigan.


In an interview after the rally, Grow said these advocates simply face an uphill battle in court and at the Capitol


“Marijuana is treated differently. There’s so much history associated with marijuana — it’s seen as a joke or a fraud,” he said. “But people are passionate about its benefits.”

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