Contained within the 2014 Appropriations Bill is a measure to eliminate the legally-required annual report on the Michigan Medical Marihuana Program
Michigan voters chose to make medical marijuana a reality by a 63% vote in November of 2008. Part of the Voter Directed Initiative 1 of 2008 (the Act) is an annual report on the Medical Marihuana Program (MMP) detailing patients, conditions, expenses and income. Governor Rick Snyder has tried to eliminate the state’s reporting requirement for 2014 and beyond.
The attempt to remove the report is listed among actions taken by the Governor in his FY 2013-2014 budget proposal. In reports prepared by both the House and Senate Fiscal Agencies, Snyder asked to remove the requirement to generate the annual report but to retain the portion of the law stating the registration fees collected can be increased if income does not meet expenditures.
The MMP was created through a petition process and any changes to the law require a supermajority vote of both houses of legislature. A change to the Act that bypasses this requirement would be met with legal challenges from activist organizations and government watchdog groups.
The Michigan Senate is responsible for the budgetary decisions regarding Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), the governmental agency currently responsible for administering the Act. The Appropriations Committee has rejected Snyder’s attempt at removing the report- as they did last year, too.
Governor Snyder tried to remove the report via 2012-s Appropriations process, the same process he used to eliminate the expired provision to privatize the MMP. Privatization had been called for, then rejected, but a requirement remained that amounted to a loose end on a program that had been squashed.
Removing the report is part of the Governor’s plan to eliminate red tape and streamline the way government does business. In 2013 Snyder has asked for dozens of reports to be eliminated. Sometimes the Senate agrees- like they did when eliminating MiOSHA’s annual report on workers injured or killed in Michigan- and sometimes they don’t.
Eliminating waste in government is part of what medical marijuana activists call for- a reallocation of resources focusing on the areas most critical to the safety and welfare of the state’s residents. What is unacceptable is that a Voter Directed Initiative, protected by the state Constitution by a higher standard than other laws, would be attacked through this budgetary process. Watchful eyes must be kept upon Snyder’s administration at all times.
Source: The Compassion Chronicles