Callton, Lyons introduce bills to improve patient access to medical marihuana

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Medical marihuana patients statewide are one step closer to safe access, thanks to legislation introduced at the state Capitol today by Reps. Mike Callton and Lisa Posthumus Lyons.

The bills improve legislation that passed the House last term, implementing ideas developed at lengthy workgroup meetings with stakeholders, including patients, caregivers, law enforcement, and officials from cities, villages and townships.

Legislation authored by Callton, R-Nashville, would transition what are known today as dispensaries into “provisioning centers” to dispense marihuana in a clean, regulated environment.  Lyons’s bill will allow patients to use non-smokeable forms of marihuana, such as tinctures and other liquid forms more suitable for children and the elderly.

“People traditionally think of marihuana as a liberal issue,” Callton said. “This is a conservative bill that provides for local control. Furthermore, this isn’t a criminal matter.  It’s a health care issue.  As a medical professional, I recognize that patients who suffer from some of the worst conditions – epilepsy, cancer, chronic pain – need safe treatment options that give them relief without fear of criminal prosecution.”

“The bottom line here is that we need to implement common-sense measures to ensure patients have safe access to medicinal marihuana,” said Lyons, R-Alto. “Additionally, we badly need to provide for alternative forms of medicinal marihuana because smoking may not be the most effective or healthy choice for patients, especially children. It is absurd that patients and parents face prosecution for using a method that best meets their medical needs, and we need to fix it.”

Callton’s measure states that provisioning centers can supply marihuana products but that they cannot be used on site.  It gives cities, villages and townships the option to opt into the law, meaning they can allow a certain number of provisioning centers or ban them entirely.

The bills were unveiled today at a press conference with participants including sponsors of Senate companion bills Mike Shirkey and David Knezek, Sen. Coleman Young, Detroit City Councilman James Tate, and City of Lansing Chief of Police Michael Yankowski. Ida Chinonis of Grand Blanc, the mother of six-year-old Bella Chinonis, also spoke at the press conference.  Bella suffers from 1p36 deletion syndrome, meaning she is missing the tip of her first chromosome, and her mother seeks access to safe, tested, non-smokeable medical marihuana for her daughter to prevent life-threatening seizures.

Callton and Lyons have collected numerous bipartisan cosponsors for both measures.