By Rick Thompson
A long-awaited panel was convened in Lansing on Friday to evaluate adding medical conditions to the list of ailments that can be treated with medical marijuana in Michigan. The panel of was composed almost entirely of physicians and health care professionals. They recommended Parkinson’s Disease be added to the list of qualifying conditions contained within the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMA).
A second condition, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, failed to receive a recommendation from the panel by a narrow 4-5 vote with two abstentions. The call from panel members was for more information, and a second vote on the issue, after the new year. PTSD petitioner John Evans said, “One individual voting no expressed his vote was to motivate individuals… worried a yes vote at this time by the panel would result in a lack of enthusiasm for public testimony.”
The panel met for the first time despite the MMA’s four-year history in Michigan. Over one hundred applications were received to suggest new conditions for addition to the MMA listing. In 2012 the Snyder administration devised a new form and asked for the previous submissions to be reworked. They discovered that, as a result of the untimely delay, some patients had died while waiting for their conditions to receive a hearing. Attorney Matthew Abel of Detroit says he has a lawsuit pending against the state for the delay in convening the panel.
Additional input on PTSD is being sought by the Panel. A website will be active in mid-January where personal testimonials can be delivered to the Panel, and the Michigan Library in Lansing is reserved for public commentary on the issue. That event will be held January 25th at 712 W. Kalamazoo.
The Medical Marijuana Review Panel will reconvene sometime in the month preceding April 15th to make final recommendations to the Director of LARA, who will issue the final decisions before May 20th, 2013.
Mr. Evans’ struggle to get PTSD considered for inclusion on the MMA list is documented in a series of emails made to a pro-marijuana email listing, compiled here:
Johnny Green side note – As loyal readers know, Rick has been writing for us for awhile now. Make sure to check out his blog The Compassion Chronicles, there’s a LOT of good stuff over there!