When Michiganders passed the Medical Marijuana Law in 2008, I doubt many could even imagine the impact to our state. In Bay County, 56 percent of the 56,626 voters in the 2008 election, voted for medical marijuana. First of all, I believe the majority of Bay County residents are good-hearted people and passed the Michigan Medical Marijuana law with good intentions. They saw the ads with sick and dying patients and were willing to do anything to help an ailing person, never dreaming that the system would be abused. However, the majority of patients for whom the program was intended are not the ones who are using/abusing the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program.
A main selling point of the program was to help patients who had cancer and were sick from chemotherapy. The reality is that very few users in the MMMP (Michigan Medical Marijuana Program) have cancer, 3,119 users are in the program due to cancer. That is about 1.6 percent of the approved applications. Out of the 192,176 applications received, 115,461 have been approved, 20,598 have been denied for being an incomplete application and 56,117 are still waiting to be reviewed.
The most common condition users in the medical marijuana program receive recommendations for is “chronic pain.” As of Aug. 31, 2010, purported pain is the diagnosis utilized for 99,304 users in the program. With pain being very subjective and difficult to gauge, it opens the plan for a large amount of abuse just with this piece.
Most traditional patients who take medication for pain ask their physician how long they will have to take the medication. With medical marijuana users, most want to be involved in the program for the rest of their lives.
The second most common box checked is muscle spasms, for 31,779 registered users, followed by severe nausea, for 13,617 users and then cancer for 3,119 users.
The marijuana of today is not the marijuana of the ’60s or ’70s. Today’s hybrid plants commonly produce three to four times the THC levels of plants in the past. With the inconsistency of plants and production, the user never knows what dose or level they are getting. The doctor is not able to monitor the actual dose a user is administered. Michigan Department of Community Health indicates that 55 doctors have recommended 71 percent of all the medical marijuana cards in Michigan, which is 1,490 applications signed per doctor. This is just a few of the many reasons marijuana is a poor choice of medicine.
The last, but most important victims are the children. Often the drugs and chemicals are left in reach of kids residing in these homes where medical marijuana is used and/or grown. Children’s respirations are faster than adults, thus they potentially take in more of this secondhand smoke, affecting their developing bodies. There are no regulations restricting the use of this substance around children.
Medical marijuana in Michigan is an utter mess, a mockery of what most voters intended when they approved the Medical Marijuana Act in 2008. More drug use results in more crime, which requires more law enforcement. And getting high is not a victimless crime — children, families and communities suffer, increasing costs for social services, law enforcement and the community.
– Goldie Wood is director