The Michigan legislature considered several modifications to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) in 2013. Now it has begun again as the Senate passed a bill that will restrict where qualified patients will be allowed to cultivate and use their medication.
The MMMA protects qualified patients from any form of penalty, including arrest or prosecution, as long as they comply with the requirements of the statute. But the bill cuts two big holes in that umbrella protection.
Private Property Open to the Public
The bill would prevent the possession or use of medical marijuana in any public place, including private property open to the public. The addition of private property will make it exceedingly difficult for support groups to gather and teach the responsible use and cultivation of marijuana. It also puts even more barriers in the way of qualified patients seeking to legally obtain their medication.
Landlords & Property Owners
The bill also adds two provisions that would give property owners the authority to ban medical marijuana on their residential property. First, the amendment prohibits the use or possession of medical marijuana on private property when prohibited by the owner of that property. Then the bill explicitly allows residential property owners to prohibit smoking or cultivating marijuana on the property if it does so in a written lease. Together, these provisions give landlords the ability to unilaterally ban the use or growth of medical marijuana. There is nothing that the patient can do to challenge this prohibition short of moving out.
The Senate’s most recent amendment to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act could cut two big holes in the umbrella of protection voters held out to cover qualified patients whose doctors recommend marijuana to treat their conditions. By prohibiting possession, smoking, and use of marijuana in private property open to the public, or where prohibited by the landlord, the Senate bill could make it exceptionally difficult for qualified patients to follow their doctors’ instructions.
If you believe the Senate bill undercuts the purpose of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, contact your state representative and urge him or her to vote against the bill when it is presented in the House.