August 6, 2013

Second Time Around For Medical Marijuana Review Panel In Michigan

August 6, 2013
michigan medical marijuana town hall

michigan medical marijuana review panelLANSING- Second time’s a charm, or at least that’s what the Licensing and Regulatory Affairs department hopes.

It may take a third time to get it right, claim the naysayers.

In 2012, after an inexplicable three-year delay, Michigan government finally did what the law required them to do and held hearing on adding new conditions to the list of ailments that can qualify a person for use of medical marijuana. Those hearing continued on into 2013 and reached a decision: Parkinson’s Disease and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder should be added to the list.

Then LARA decided the Panel was not composed properly, disbanded it and discarded their conclusions. They have re-formed the panel and are poised to meet again on Tuesday, August 6th.

Unfortunately, according to attorney Matthew Abel, they have another problem of composition that could lead to another series of meeting that deliver nothing more than a waste of time.

Michigan law requires the Panel to be structured with several requirements: one of the members has to be the chief medical officer in the state, and seven other panelists must come from the Pain and Symptom Management Advisory Board. It’s in the MMA and in the Administrative Rules since 2009. This new panel comes with only six members of the Advisory Board.

That’s a big problem, Abel told Lansing State Journal reporter Scott Davis. His firm originally sued LARA to get the panel convened in 2012; a judge dropped the lawsuit when LARA complied with the meetings the first time. The litigant in that case is Martin Chilcutt.

“I am very skeptical based on their past, on their track record,” Chilcutt told the Lansing State Journal. “Everything they have done so far, they have screwed up.”

Per the article, LARA Spokesperson Jeannie Vogel claims “LARA intends to add the seventh member as soon as Gov. Rick Snyder fills a vacancy on the pain and symptom management committee.”

There are plenty of members on the Pain and Symptom Management Committee. A 2009 report listed 18 people as being members of the Board; seven of those were appointed by the Governor. They are appointed by various Michigan Boards, like the Boards of Nursing, Psychology, Pharmacy, Dentistry and representatives from the hospice industry. Each member is paid a per diem allowance per Public Act 368 from 1978. There are plenty of members of the Committee available to fill the missing slot.

Governor Snyder appointed Steve Arwood as Director of LARA and the world changed for patients enrolled in the medical marijuana program: new and cumbersome forms were created, old discounts were eliminated, new allocation of funds toward non-health related purposes, the disbanding of the first Panel and the creation of a new one. With manipulation of circumstance being so pervasive within LARA, this Panel’s decisions are less predictable than the previous one was.

Public comment is welcome for this Panel meeting taking place from 1-4PM at the Michigan Library- Lake Superior Room, 702 W. Kalamazoo, Lansing. Ailments being discussed are autism and asthma, with consideration of three petitions being heard afterward: two petitions for  PTSD and one for insomnia.

Source: The Compassion Chronicles


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