New expanded laws for medical marijuana in Michigan are taking some time to be fully implemented, but Dearborn Heights is playing its part. Michigan Senator, David Knezek, called together experts on medical marijuana and residents of Dearborn Heights to learn more about medical marijuana and all of its impacts on a community before grow facilities began construction in the town.
Both sides in the debate to allow medical marijuana grow facilities to the city gathered Thursday for a town hall hosted by state Sen. David Knezek (D-Dearborn Heights).
The senator gathered experts from around the state to speak at the Carl E. Stitt American Legion Post No. 232 to make sure that residents in his district are informed about Michigan’s ever-evolving medical marijuana laws.
Panel members further explained the new laws and what they mean for the community, with Knezek stressing that the meeting was not a debate, but more of an education session.
Comprising the panel were Doug Mains of the State Bar of Michigan’s Marijuana Law section; Shelly Edgerton, director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs; and Robin Schneider, executive director of the National Patients Rights Association.
“I wanted to provide residents with the education they need to advocate for or against any ordinances that they want in the community,” Knezek said.
The recently enacted Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act now allows communities to implement their own ordinances approving and regulating marijuana facilities within their borders.
The city of Dearborn Heights has been considering adopting such an ordinance, which would allow grow facilities in the south end of the city.
The constituents in Knezek’s district reside in Dearborn Heights, Inkster, Redford, Detroit and Garden City.
The meeting also served to educate members of local city councils and offices in those cities.
“I think it’s an important conversation to have,” Dearborn Heights Councilwoman Lisa Hicks-Clayton said. “Education outreach in the community is needed. I want to hear from my constituents. I work for them.”
Inkster Councilman Steven Chisholm attended because he wanted to make sure he had all the information on the subject. “I’m looking to see how the surrounding communities are doing this,” he said. “It’s a 50/50 subject, and we all need to move in the same direction.”
Chisholm said wanted to have the information in case his residents asked him questions about the topic. “I want to be able to refer them to resources,” he said.
Knezek opened the meeting talking about the state’s 2008 approval of compassionate use of marijuana. “In the years after, legislature dropped the ball,” he said.
The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act of 2008 allows qualified patients and registered caregivers identified with those patients to use marijuana for specified medical conditions. It did not legalize marijuana use.
The law was expanded to allow the use of not only the plants for smoking, but also the infused products, such as oils, butters, and other “edibles.”
Schneider talked about the benefit that these edibles give to patients in extreme pain. The law currently allows for those who suffer from illnesses like cancer, arthritis, HIV, AIDS, Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and many more to be eligible to apply as medical marijuana patients.
She spoke of friends who have died and mothers with children who’ve had seizures, and that she herself had a stroke and got her medical marijuana card; and how hard it was to convince state legislature to pass the original medical marijuana act.
“We wanted better access to clean, safe and tested,” product,Schneider said. “Some users smoke, and that’s fine. Some others need specific strains and doses.”
Timothy Locke and other pro-legalization advocates were present to ask questions about other states and how those laws might apply to Michigan laws.
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