LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) - Proposals announced Tuesday to change Michigan's voter-approved medical marijuana law would better define the relationship between a medical marijuana patient and his or her doctor, and allow law enforcement to access the patient registry.
The plans could dramatically cut down on the number of medical marijuana dispensaries.
"This is a tier one priority for us," said Rep. John Walsh, R-Livonia, after announcing the proposals.
On the same day, two proposals were passed by a Michigan Senate committee: One to ban all felons from being medical marijuana "caregivers" or providers, and one to ban transferring medical marijuana in dispensaries within 1,000 feet of a school or house of worship.
Also on Tuesday, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette also announced a legal opinion concluding that the current law does not allow the collective growing or sharing of plants on cooperative farms.
Because voters approved the law, any legislative proposal to change it would require a three-quarters majority in the Michigan House and Senate.
The plan to define the doctor-patient relationship comes after critics in the legislature complained about online certification and that too few doctors were certifying too many patients.
"It's something that we've been preaching a long time -- that the doctor needs to be more involved," Mid-Michigan Compassion Club president and founder Dave Overholt told 24 Hour News 8.
But he said there's a problem: Doctors fear getting involved in medical marijuana, in part because of federal drug laws.
As for the possibility of his club being banned, Overholt said he's "counting" on his community "to rise up and say this is a good thing for our community and we are learning to take care of ourselves through this industry."
The club founder said he does want to see clarifications made.
"In the dispensary end, it's pretty hard to understand ... how they would like us to do it," he said. "And taxes -- we all want to pay our fair share in taxes."
Overall, Overholt said he does not believe lawmakers are proposing the proper changes in the law.
Walsh said the proposals were announced Tuesday to "invite input, so that when we return to full session in September, this will be one of the first items that will come up" in the Senate's judiciary committee.
Gov. Rick Snyder said Tuesday there are a number of issues with medical marijuana that "probably should be looked at."
"My view is, we'll take that up in terms of our agenda probably in the fall or in some time next year -- in terms of saying, it's something that's worth a review," Snyder said.
The governor said he would seek to bring people together for an "open discussion."
We get a brief break from the "lake-effect machine" Friday.
A few flurries occurred Thursday night. Lows held in the teens and the wind relaxed to the 5 to 10 mph range, with 20s at the Lake Michigan.
On Thursday, the medical examiner's office said CMU student Kelly Markatos died as a result of the eating disorder bulimia.