By ED WHITE
Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) – Michigan won’t allow the use of medical marijuana to control the effects of severe autism, an official said Thursday, rejecting the recommendation of an advisory panel.

Michigan would have been the first state to add autism to the list of conditions that qualify for pot. But the head of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs said he wasn’t swayed, citing a lack of deep research and other concerns.

Marijuana wouldn’t be smoked. Supporters say oil extracted from the plant and swallowed has been effective in controlling extreme physical behavior, such as outbursts, kicking and punching.

The petition was filed by a Detroit-area woman who reported dramatic improvement in her son, who is autistic but is qualified to use marijuana because of epileptic seizures. Lisa Smith said she wants to help other families.

Zimmer, however, questioned whether oil even is allowed under the medical marijuana law. He said the law mostly refers to dried leaves and flowers from the plant.

He also said the petition as submitted technically wouldn’t limit marijuana only to kids with severe autism.

“Autism likely impacts more children than other qualifying medical conditions, effectively rebutting any claim that any increase in (marijuana) participation by minors would be minimal,” Zimmer said.

On a 4-2 vote, an advisory panel in July recommended adding autism to the medical marijuana program. Parents desperate to try a new tool packed the meeting and applauded the decision.

The dissenters included Dr. Eden Wells, Michigan’s chief medical executive.

© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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