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Published: Thursday, 12/12/2013

Michigan House approves bills allowing medical marijuana dispensaries, pharmacy sales


LANSING, Mich. — Medical marijuana measures moved forward in the Michigan House on Thursday, including one that would allow pharmacy sales of the drug, pending federal approval.

The pharmacy bill now goes to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature.

Other medical marijuana bills passed the House on Thursday, but need Senate consideration next year. One would let local governments allow or prohibit medical marijuana dispensaries, or “provisioning centers” in their communities. The other would clarify that patients can use non-smokable forms of medical marijuana, such as oils, food items and pills.

Michigan voters legalized marijuana use for medical purposes five years ago. Patients can grow it themselves or buy it from registered caregivers. But the legality of dispensaries has been thrown into doubt by conflicting court rulings.

“By amending the definition ... to include the plant resin or extract, we are giving patients a choice in how they can alleviate their suffering,” state Rep. Eileen Kowall, R-White Lake, said in a statement. “Many patients, particularly children and the elderly, cannot smoke or use a vaporizer to ingest marijuana, and we should not force them to do so.

“We have worked diligently to address the concerns of both patients and law enforcement, and this bill strikes a balance between them,” she said.

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