LANSING (WWJ/AP) – The Michigan Senate has voted to give ailing residents another avenue to buy marijuana for medical purposes.
Legislation approved 22-16 Wednesday would allow for the production and sale of “pharmaceutical-grade” cannabis if the federal government reclassifies marijuana as a Schedule 2 drug. Pharmacies could distribute the drug.
Senate Bill 660 is intended to establish a second medical marijuana system in Michigan, one that proponents say wouldn’t interfere with a 2008 voter-approved law where patients grow their own or obtain it from caregivers.
The legislation would allow doctors to recommend that patients be issued “enhanced” cannabis cards differing from those now carried by 129,000 residents.
Critics of the bill are suspicious of efforts to “corporatize” marijuana growing and say lawmakers should improve the existing system instead.
Under current Michigan law, people with medical marijuana cards can possess up to two ounces of ready-to-use marijuana and have up to 12 plants in a locked area.
More than 130,000 people in Michigan are registered medical marijuana patients, and another 25,000 are registered as caregivers who are allowed to grow marijuana for up to five people.
Michigan allow for the drug to be used as treatment for certain diseases such as glaucoma, cancer, hepatitis C and Crohn’s disease.
(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)