Schuette offers new details on medical pot law

LANSING (AP) -- A developing plan to clarify Michigan's medical marijuana law would include a proposal that would make it a felony for physicians to knowingly falsely certify a patient's debilitating condition, Republican Attorney General Bill Schuette said Wednesday.

Other new details revealed by Schuette and state lawmakers on Wednesday include that the plan will call for making it a felony to knowingly submit false information on an application for a patient or caregiver card. It will also prohibit felons from being caregivers.

A group of Michigan lawmakers plans to introduce at least eight bills that would change the voter-approved law in the Legislature within the next few months. Since the law was originally approved by voters, some of the changes would require support from three-fourths majorities in both the House and Senate.

The proposed changes would require stricter doctor-patient relationships before a patient could get authorization to use the drug. Other provisions likely would result in fewer medical marijuana dispensaries in the state. Zoning guidelines would be clarified so local governments would have a better idea of how to regulate them under state law. Law also would be clarified to crack down on drivers who get behind the wheel with marijuana in their system.

Law enforcement, local communities, courts and some patients have been locked in disputes about what's legal and what isn't since shortly after the law was approved. Schuette--joined by a few Republican and Democratic lawmakers, law enforcement personnel and others--said loopholes in the law must be closed.

"Sadly and tragically, this law is being abused," Schuette said. "This law is being exploited."

Advocates of medical marijuana say nothing in the law prohibits dispensaries and collective growing facilities, and that communities are ignoring the will of Michigan voters by cracking down on those businesses.

Published: Fri, Aug 12, 2011