Friday, February 5, 2010

Medical Marijuana Program

Marijuana nowadays can be used and recommended legally by patients in Michigan with certain medical conditions, a state identification card and a recommendation from a doctor. For the most part, it is understood that the state's voters are getting about what they expected from the program they approved in last November's election. Not a lot more, not a lot less.

The state started issuing ID cards in April to approved users, including some with HIV/AIDs, multiple sclerosis and glaucoma. Now there are more than 2,000 approved users statewide. Good number of other people have been licensed as "caregivers," who may legally grow and supply users with marijuana.

In Southwest Michigan alone, there are about 190 registered users and 78 licensed caregivers.

From the early results, the program seems to be working about as expected. Doctors and patients are working hand in hand to decide if marijuana might be of some help, and the production and supply generally are being done within the rules established. At the moment, there does not appear to be a great deal of social or legal disruption, although some minor controversy about the process is yet to be cleared up.

I am among those who think some scientific study and research still are needed, mainly to address good questions about marijuana's effectiveness, dosing and side effects. We also believe that such research could be conducted successfully effectively in Michigan given the system that's been established and the patients who are available now for possible study, and considering the bio-medical research resources in existence here.

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