Callton introduces bill to allow establishment of medical marijuana provisioning centers

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State Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville, has introduced the Medical Marijuana Provisioning Center Regulation Act to allow the establishment of medical marijuana provisioning centers which will provide medical marijuana for those with a recommendation from a doctor.

Callton, a chiropractor, approaches this from a health care provider perspective and considers it a patient care issue. He introduced House Bill 4271 with 16 bipartisan cosponsors, who he says range from the most conservative members of the state House to the most liberal.

“People with a medical marijuana recommendation from a doctor are allowed to grow their own for medicinal purposes,” Callton said. “But some of these people have only months to live and are very sick. It’s simply not realistic to expect them to do this. Since it takes four to six months for a marijuana plant to provide usable medicine, many patients will die before their plants can help them.”

Caregivers are permitted by law to dispense medical marijuana for up to five patients. At this time, the number of medical marijuana patients far exceeds the number of caregivers able to provide for them. Two-thirds of all Michigan patients have no access to a caregiver, according to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

“Our state voted to approve the use of this natural medicine nearly five years ago, and yet it’s not readily available those who need it,” Callton said. “This legislation is a step toward cleaning up the mess and allowing safe patient access. There is a way to establish this in a way that is efficient and safe for all Michigan residents. I don’t think the current mess is what people had in mind when they cast their vote for this in 2008. “

Callton introduced a similar measure last term but said that circumstances have changed and the issue is steadily gaining traction with lawmakers and residents statewide.

“Frankly, the recent Michigan Supreme Court ruling necessitated this legislation,” Callton said. “Now there are only two limited ways someone can access medical marijuana: grow their own, or contract with a caregiver. Therefore, we need to allow for provisioning centers or patients will continue to suffer. The more educated people become about this issue, the more they understand the pressing need before us.”

HB 4271 would mandate that provisioning centers only supply marijuana products and that they cannot be consumed on site. It also provides for local control of dispensaries and reduces overages of marijuana by allowing caregivers to sell their excess product to the provisioning centers.

“This is a local control bill, empowering communities,” Callton said. “It requires local approval for a provisioning center to open. It allows for safety inspections and even gives locals the option to have the products tested for quality control. The end result here is a provisioning center that you would feel okay having your grandmother walk into…if it doesn’t pass the ‘Grandma Test’, it needs improvement.”