Nearly 1,000 rally in Lansing to protest pushback on medical marijuana

Nearly 1,000 people gathered on the steps and lawn of the state Capitol on Wednesday to decry attempts to change the law passed by voters in 2008 that allows for the use of medical marijuana. With the distinct aroma of marijuana in the air and signs declaring, “Let My People Grow,” and “Fight Criminals, not Sick People,” the gathering was one part Hash Bash and one part protest rally. Speaker after speaker decried a Court of Appeals ruling that said medical marijuana dispensaries are illegal and the subsequent raids on dispensaries. They lashed out at the Legislature and Attorney General Bill Schuette for bills that would make the law more restrictive. About 63% of voters approved the law.

Six legislators said last month they would introduce bills that would prohibit felons from becoming caregivers, clarify what is a debilitating condition, prohibit dispensaries within 500 feet of a church, school or day care center and require a full physician workup — including medical histories — before a doctor can certify someone as a medical marijuana user. “If we can get enough letters sent, maybe we can stop some of those bills,” said Corey Thomason, 62, of Three Rivers.

He’s a certified medical marijuana user because he has hepatitis C. He’s also a caregiver for one other medical marijuana user, meaning he can grow marijuana and provide it to that person. “The ballot issue was meant to show the feelings of the people,” said Chris Chiles, who is on the board of directors for Students for Sensible Drug Policy. “We don’t need games or silly bureaucracy.” Chiles is organizing a petition drive to repeal an ordinance in Kalamazoo that prohibits medical marijuana dispensaries.

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