A bill that would establish a system for medical marijuana in pharmacies has just passed the Michigan Senate and is moving to the House for consideration.
The bill would provide patients with an alternative to the state’s existing medical marijuana system. Under laws passed five years ago, medical marijuana can be grown at home and sold in dispensaries.
However, supporters of the new bill say it would improve the safety and quality of medical marijuana by allowing pharmaceutical companies to participate in the industry.
The legislation was introduced in February by Michigan Senator and cardiologist Roger Kahn, who told Traverse City Record-Eagle that the current system needs improvement.
“Marijuana, if it’s to be medical marijuana, should be held to the standard of medical safety, dosage predictability. Our medical marijuana (law) does neither of those. Yet it uses the word ‘medical’ predominantly or prominently in its claims.”
According to The Times Herald, the bill would reclassify marijuana as a schedule 2 substance, provide licenses to businesses for the cultivation and testing of medical marijuana, and allow pharmacies to dispense medical marijuana.
But the proposal has drawn criticism from those suspicious of its corporate backers, which include Canadian medical marijuana company Prairie Plant Systems Inc, who is lobbying for the bill with the help of former House Speaker Chuck Perricone.
Prairie Plant Systems has been the exclusive supplier of medical marijuana to the Canadian government for over a decade. The company also owns an underground growing facility in White Pine, Michigan, where it hopes to grow medical marijuana under the state’s new proposal.
Earlier this year, the Canadian government introduced changes to the country’s medical marijuana system that also aims to treat marijuana like any other pharmaceutical drug.
Prairie Plant Systems’ Canadian subsidiary, CanniMed, was one of the first companies to receive a license to manufacture and distribute medical marijuana under Canada’s new regulations. CanniMed’s website lists 3 strains of marijuana, ranging from 9.0% to 17.0% THC, at a price of $9 to $12 per gram.