Measure by Rep. LaMar Lemmons III Builds on Strong Support for Local Initiatives

LANSING, MICHIGAN — Building on the strong voter support for medical marijuana initiatives over the last 16 months, Rep. LaMar Lemmons III (D-Wayne County) and a bipartisan group of cosponsors have introduced a bill to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest statewide.

Rep. Lemmons' bill, HB 5470, would allow seriously ill patients to use and possess a limited amount of medical marijuana if their doctor has recommended it. The bill is similar to medical marijuana laws now in force in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.

"Patients battling cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS, or other terrible illnesses should not have to risk arrest and jail for using medical marijuana if their doctor believes it may help them," Rep. Lemmons said. "Science, compassion and common sense say that we should protect medical marijuana patients from arrest, and the voters in four Michigan communities have resoundingly agreed.."

State voters have overwhelmingly endorsed a series of local laws to protect medical marijuana patients, beginning with passage of Detroit's Proposal M by a 60 percent to 40 percent margin in August 2004. This was followed by an even larger victory in Ann Arbor that November. In November of this year, medical marijuana initiatives passed in Ferndale and Traverse City by 61 percent to 39 percent and 63 percent to 27 percent, respectively.

"In Michigan and around the U.S., voters want to protect medical marijuana patients," said Michael McKey, legislative analyst with the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. "The overwhelming votes in support of local medical marijuana initiatives in Detroit, Traverse City, Ferndale, and Ann Arbor sent a clear message to legislators, and Rep. Lemmons deserves credit for listening. We are hopeful that his fellow legislators will join him in passing this sensible, humane legislation."

With more than 18,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit http://MarijuanaPolicy.org.