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Anti-Medical Marijuana Bill Hurts Michigan Families


families medical marijuanaLANSING- When Nancy Grace appeared on CNN and asked the millions of viewers worldwide, “What about the babies?” she was asking about the effect of marijuana use on our nation’s youth. She certainly could have been asking about the effect of a potentially devastating bill proposed in the Michigan legislature that would allow landlords to refuse to rent to families whose children depend on a cannabis therapy to abate their illness.

The bill, SB 783, would allow property owners to create leases forbidding the smoking or growing of marijuana on rental or lease property, essentially creating an opportunity to ban those persons who have been medically certified and state-sanctioned to use the treatment method. Michigan has 125,000 registered medical marijuana patients, including dozens of sick children.

The rules governing pediatric marijuana use were straightforward when the law was passed in 2008 but court decisions and Attorney General Opinions have changed the rules. In Michigan at this time, parents of pediatric marijuana patients- those children who have been certified to use cannabis as pills, liquids, creams, ointments and other non-smoked forms of the medication- find themselves in a Catch 22.


The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (the Act) requires that all medications used by the ill child must be created or obtained by a single parent or legal guardian, called a caregiver. The Act did not create a system of dispensaries (although there are more than 100 operating in Michigan today), and a court decision from 2012 determined that patients cannot trade, exchange or sell marijuana to each other- or to anybody. A more recent court decision has narrowed the forms of marijuana that can be legally used by patients of any age.

To remain legally compliant a caregiving parent cannot acquire their child’s medicine from a distribution center or another patient/caregiver; they must grow all the medicine their child uses and then create the limited variety of foodstuffs allowable under the law in their own home. The parent’s only alternative: purchase marijuana with unknown properties on the black market at high risk and high prices.

Parents of ill children are often financially strapped for cash as medical treatments and physician appointments consume their income. “Many of these families are single-income households out of necessity,” said Jamie Lowell, Chairman of the Michigan chapter of the national organization Americans for Safe Access. “One parent has a full-time job taking care of the child’s medical needs. These are the people that would be most severely disadvantaged by the new rule,” he told TCC.

Jim Powers of the Michigan-based organization Pediatric Cannabis Therapy has been a vocal supporter of common sense medical marijuana laws. The group brings together parents of ill children for networking, support and lobbying efforts. A Macomb County resident, Powers’ young son has severe medical issues that he’s successfully held in check through the use of medicinal marijuana, as recommended by two physicians and sanctioned by the State. “My son’s illness has been in remission for 229 days,” Powers told TCC.

“As parents of children with life threatening illnesses, many of us have been financially devastated as a result of the medical care our children necessitate,” Powers said. “Many of us have lost our homes to foreclosure as a result and are forced to rent. SB783 will potentially remove the only legal avenue that our parents are able to obtain their child’s medication. Without the presence of a distribution system, such as the one provided for in HB4271, these families may see the only legal method of providing medication for their child prohibited by their landlord.”


Although families with ill children are particularly vulnerable, many of the Michigan voters enrolled in the MMA are financially struggling and rely on discounted enrollment costs to remain in the program. After all, Michigan has been the state hardest hit by the recent economic downturn in America. The working poor of the state are often one financial speedbump away from disaster; it is the opportunity to use medicine that costs less than traditional pharmaceuticals that drove many to try marijuana for the treatment of their illness or injury.

“These potential changes to rental agreements could remove long-term tenants with no history of problems from their living situations- even if they haven’t done anything wrong, ever,” said Steve Greene, radio show personality, caregiver and medical marijuana advocate from Oakland County.

SB 783 offers a more invasive adjustment of the MMA, one that could affect nearly every certified and card-holding medical marijuana patient in Michigan. For adult patients, the majority of whom smoke or vaporize their cannabis in the traditional method of use, their own home would no longer be their sanctuary.

The 2008 MMA prohibits use of medical marijuana ‘in any public place.’ SB 783 would further define that phrase to prohibit any smoking of marijuana on private property where others could see, even if that place is inside their home but visible from outside.

“This bill creates two sets of different rules,” said Greene. “Property owners would have greater rights than most renters, even if their illness and needs are the same. Rural patients- those that have property large enough to be totally screened by trees or fencing from onlookers- would have a decided advantage over their city-dwelling friends, whose smaller lots provide few opportunities for completely concealed smoking.”

The potential new policy would keep patients hidden behind thick curtains or drive them into their basements to use their medicine, which is exactly where those patients were prior to the 2008 passage of the Medical Marihuana Act. A Senate analysis of the bill admits that there would be a number of otherwise law-abiding patients slapped with misdemeanor charges every year, if this bill becomes law.

“We need to move forward, not backward,” Lowell said, “and this legislation is a giant step backwards.”

Source: TheCompassionChronicles.Com


About Author

"Rick Thompson was the Editor in Chief for the entire 2-year run of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine, was the spokesman for the Michigan Association of Compassion Centers and is the current Editor and Lead Blogger for The Compassion Chronicles. Rick has addressed committees in both the House and Senate, has authored over 200 articles on marijuana and is a professional photographer." Rick Thompson Is An Author At The Compassion Chronicles and focuses on all things Michigan.


  1. I agree that dispensaries are great. It’s too bad you have met subpar growers. I have been growing in hydro and soil and my stuff ( as has been told to me by patients) is as good as anything at the dispensary. I also find that the difference between hydro and soil is negligible as far as potency, yield and density goes. I was surprised last year with my first soil grows that flavor is stronger in soil. I swore by hydro up until then now I do soil and hydro indoors and think I am going to switch to complete soil as it is easier and less exspensive. No matter the grow medium, it is all in the roots, nutes, and lights.

  2. Dispensaries are not retarded. Not everyone smokes more than an oz a month, and if you do then you a free to grow it yourself. But people like me who can’t grow because of current living situations need them.

    Plus, I have had many caregivers over the years. The medicine was not up to my standards, I used to grow and all my top strains tested at minimum 19%. Every person I have met grows sub par marijuana in Michigan, and it’s funny how they all claim they have the best medicine. Barely anyone uses hydro setups, but if you go to certain stores they test everything. You know what you are getting before you walk in the door. And the people providing this to stores are too good to ever need patients, I have had my med card for over 4 years and still never met anyone with great meds advertising their services. So please support the stores, it is a safe way to acquire meds.

  3. yes this is a step backwards however, you’re socialist party dictator has yet to make out federally legal or do anything to give people rights. Democrats take then. As soon as you realize this the better off you’ll be. And, dispensaries are retarded.

  4. Dylan Steez Gomula on

    So while other states are passing bills to LEGALIZE, The Michigan law makers are going against it. They need to follow the facts about cannabis that science proved over a decade ago..

  5. Melekalikimaka on

    This is the the fascist regime of Michigan where trampling on people’s rights is the mission of the Republican dominated state government. What else do you expect?

  6. For more information on how to pick on sick people and make their lives even more cumbersome, contact ex LEO Rick Jones, the sponsor of this bill. He can assist you in learning how to be a sympathy-lacking, mean spirited individual. Also, of you call now a free lesson on how to thwart the will of the people by sneaky little bureaucratic idiosyncrasies being exploited.

  7. Simple answer. Either vote the “you now whats” out of office or move to Colorado. I live in Michigan also, and I’m pretty hot about the detestable worthless right wing Republicans in Lansing. I’m afraid Michigan has become Michissippi and Michibama. The right wing constantly tells lies and the ignorant populace let’s them off the hook. There is no common sense.

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