In recent weeks the state of Michigan has cracked down on medical marijuana “dispensaries” across the state. This came as a result of Michigan’s Attorney General Bill Schuette declaring that all cannabis dispensaries are illegal.
There has been much debate about how medical marijuana patients are to obtain the medicine they are legally prescribed. There is certain guidelines that must be met in order to become a Michigan Medical Marijuana patient. One must either be terminally ill, suffer from certain list of illnesses such as Chron’s disease or suffer from severe chronic pain.
Now after years of fighting for the right to legally use cannabis as for medical purposes it is the patients who are now suffering the effect of this latest blow to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act . The question remains, exactly how can one be legal to use medical marijuana but not be able to obtain through a safe controlled environment such as the dispensaries that have now been shut down statewide.
According to the MMMA, the only legal way to obtain the medical cannabis is through A: growing your own supply, and B: through a caregiver. Caregivers may grow, care for and dispense medical cannabis for five patients. Here in lies the problem, most patients lack the correct knowledge of growing medical cannabis and there is not enough caregivers to care for all of the patients who cannot grow.
It is a shame to know that many law abiding citizens are now feeling as if the government is treating them like criminals. Cannabis has proven to help in many areas of medicine. Two significant purposes are that it eases nausea and eases chronic pain. Some say it is the not the dispensaries that are suffering, many feel it is the patients. The patients who were given the opportunity to use this medical cannabis legally.
Donnie Hogan, a MMMA card holder has recently felt the sting of the dispensary shut down. Mr. Hogan suffers from Ankylosing Spondylitis. Also known as A.S. This disease is an autoimmune disease that attacks the bones and joints. It can cause severe chronic pain and at times Mr. Hogan must uses crutches to aid him with his mobility. It also can effect organs and without treatment will eventually cause the patient’s spine to fuse together.
Mr. Hogan has been able to help control his chronic pain by obtaining medical marijuana through his local dispensrary in his hometown of Harrison MI. That is until they closed the local dispensary. Mr. Hogan did not have any of his own cannabis growing at the time of the shutdown and was unable to find a caregiver to treat his need for medical marijuana to help relive his chronic pain.
Shortly after the shut down, Mr. Hogan was admitted into the hospital. His disease had flared and he was suffering from extreme chronic pain. Once the hospital had him stable the next day, they released him with prescription for narcotic pain pills. Any sufferer of chronic pain understands that taking narcotic pain medication is not only unhealthy; it can be habit forming. Mr. Hogan has no choice but to attempt to control his pain and disease in any means that may be, currently he is taking the narcotic medication. He says he would not have to do so if he could legally obtain medical cannabis through a safe environment such as a dispensary. He just thinks it is unfair to treat the MMMA patients so poorly.
“We, the patients, are the ones who are suffering, not the government and not the dispensaries. It is wrong to treat us as criminals. We voted. We deserve to be treated like Proud American Voting Citizens. ” Mr Hogan stated in an email earlier this week.
It is going to be a long journey ahead for MMMA patients and caregivers. There have been rallies including a large display of supporters in Lansing MI on September 7, 2011. Over 1500 supporters showed up to voice their concerns in a matter that will continue to battle forth in the months ahead in Michigan. Patients like Mr. Hogan are caught in the cross fire of a legal battle. Is it a battle over patient’s rights or who is making the dollar?