Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said Wednesday that he hopes a package of bills expected to be considered by lawmakers this fall will close loopholes in the state’s medical marijuana law.
“The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act was designed, packaged and sold to help those who had a terminal illness, or to help manage pain at the end of life, or to assist those who have a chronic disease,” Schuette said. “Tragically, and sadly, this (law) has been abused and exploited and hijacked by those who have different motives. It’s been abused by the profiteers.”
There are a number of proposals, including a prohibition on felons serving as caregivers. Schuette’s plan also calls for it to be a felony crime for a doctor to knowingly falsely certify a debilitating medical condition for patients, and for a person to submit false information to get a patient or caregiver card.
Additionally, Schuette noted inconsistencies in the medical marijuana law and the Motor Vehicle Code, and wants to clarify that driving with any amount of marijuana in your system is prohibited.
Southfield-based attorney Neil Rockind, who has defended medical marijuana users in court and is an advocate for the rights of patients and caregivers, said the bills are designed to constrain the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. He called them unnecessary.
“One of the proposals is to prohibit felons, anyone with any felony conviction, from being a caregiver,” Rockind said. “…There are mayors who are felons. There are lawyers who are felons. There are doctors who are felons. If someone, 15 or 20 years ago, got a felony conviction for shoplifting, they would be prohibited as functioning as a caregiver for their wife.”
Law enforcement, local communities, courts and some patients have been locked in disputes about what’s legal and what isn’t since voters approved the law in 2008.
“We need to bring this law back in line with what the people voted for,” Schuette said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.