Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Medical Marijuana

I moved to Gaylord, Michigan at the end of last March. I have discovered many differences from where I formerly lived in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. For example:

There we called it “soda” – here we call it “pop”!

There we averaged less than 30 inches a year of snow – here it is over 150 inches!

There we had flies and mosquitoes – here we have really BIG flies and mosquitoes!

But one of the most intriguing differences I have noticed is that back in Lancaster County, selling marijuana is illegal. Here – you can get a card from the state giving you permission to buy marijuana. If I have counted right, there are some six different medical marijuana establishments just right here in Gaylord, alone (Folks, listen, Gaylord isn't that big). That sure seems like overkill to me! So curiosity got the best of me!

Yesterday I went to lunch with two other staff members (I won’t use their names in order to protect them but If you know which staff are addicted to Taco Bell you can figure it out). We made a run for the border (meaning we went to the newly reopened Taco Bell). Part of our conversation, as we solved most all of the world’s problems during our lunch discussion, was on these marijuana establishments. We wondered, “How exactly do they work?”

So – we stopped into one of these stores after lunch to find out for ourselves how it worked. I’m not sure the couple inside realized they were talking to three local pastors, but we simply asked them questions. I’m sure this is going to be overly simplistic of a paraphrase, but here is how I came away understanding it.

Basically if you can prove a chronic pain or illness, you can submit an application to the state to receive a card which allows you to purchase marijuana for medical purposes from a state licensed dealer. If your doctor will not give you written verification of your disease or chronic pain to use to submit your application to the state, these establishments (at least the one we visited) have doctors on staff who will do so if you can verify medical proof of your condition. The store we were in told us that they get their supply from overages of licensed growers and that they too grow their own product (you also have to have a different card issue by the state giving you permission to grow marijuana for your patients).

If you ask me, it sure seems like just about anyone could become a state approved purchaser. After all, who doesn’t have some type of disease or chronic pain that they can verify? It brought up to me several other questions:

Do the doctors at these medical marijuana establishments have the same level of schooling and degrees that a typical medical doctor has?

What kind of safeguards are in place? Do they have to have “malpractice” insurance like other doctors?

What about liability? I believe that if a bartender continues to sell drinks to a customer who is obviously intoxicated, and that customer causes an accident on the way home from the bar and someone is killed, the bartender can possibly be held liable. Is this true with medical marijuana stores?

At the risk of creating controversy, I’ll be honest and say that I am not sold on the “Medical Marijuana” law here in Michigan. So, do any of you have an opinion?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think it's ridiculous that we have 4+ establishments that sell this stuff in such a small town.