Of course, no one is implying that it is.
But even mainstream media outlets like the Detroit News are starting to recognize just how dire the Michigan medical marijuana shortage is. And they’re giving it some press.
In a June 20th editorial, they essentially called upon LARA to do something about it.
And it would be great if other media stepped up and demanded action too. It could help to make a difference.
Editorial Points to ‘Fumbling’ State for Medical Marijuana Shortage
The editorial lays out what we’ve been addressing for months now.
It talks about how LARA put emergency rules in place in October which allowed licensed dispensaries to sell untested caregiver-grown products. These rules were supposed to expire at the end of 2018, but a lawsuit pushed the deadline to April 1st.
The irony of it being April Fools Day did not go unnoticed.
Because then what happened was a court order allowed for 30 dispensaries whose licensed were denied to stay upon until LARA made a decision. They were permitted to sell caregiver product.
Meanwhile, the licensed dispensaries that unravelled themselves from the red tape and jumped through all the necessary hoops to get licensure are permitted to purchase their product solely from licensed testing facilities.
Of which there are a whopping four. Yep. You can count them on one hand.
So obviously, the combination of this stringent rule and the dearth of testing facilities has led to a serious shortage.
Patients Are Struggling to Get Needed Medicine
Even to the point where they’re stepping up and suing the state – as did a nurse last month who’s struggling with a rare form cancer that leaves her in extreme pain.
For her and others like her, medical marijuana has been the only effective medicine to ease their pain and other symptoms.
The opinion piece does give credit to the Governor for forming the Marijuana Regulatory Agency earlier this year to oversee regulation of recreational and medicinal marijuana.
They have managed to increase the pace on licensing the industry, which “the state had bungled previously.”
Furthermore, the Detroit News editorial also acknowledged that high standards make it very difficult – as well as time consuming – for testing facilities to get licensed.
But it also points out the complete injustice of allowing patients to suffer while the state is trying to streamline operations. Especially when the caregiver network is still available to provide for them.
And it’s not just a handful of people. We’re talking roughly 300,000 patients.
Opinion Piece Calls for Change
The new Marijuana Regulatory Agency is attempting to speed up the licensing process. And they claim they have two more facilities in the making.
But the editorial points out that six testing facilities just isn’t gonna cut it. They need more to keep up with demand. And that unlicensed dispensaries have the upper hand, since they don’t rely on testing facilities.
So what needs to be done?
First, they state that “LARA must prioritize licensing more testing facilities.” After all, it’s their rule that licensed dispensaries are required to sell tested products.
Then the editorial adds that in the midst of this shortage LARA has essentially created, they “should extend emergency regulations” which would permit licensed dispensaries to buy caregiver-grown medical marijuana. This would help both patients and struggling businesses.
As the editorial put it, “more work must be done to ensure medical marijuana patients across the state have reliable access to the products they need.”
We couldn’t agree more.
Will the State Ever Resolve This Issue?
The Michigan medical marijuana shortage has been going on for far too long.
At this point, it’s simply not enough to write it off to growing pains. People are suffering.
As more mainstream media covers this issue, we hope it lights some fires. Because something needs to change.
In the meantime, we’ll continue to cover the latest on patients, dispensaries, caregivers and the industry at large. So keep checking back with our blog.