In 2008, Michigan voters overwhelmingly passed a state medical marijuana law, which enabled a thriving industry to take root. But in 2010, Bill Schuette was elected state Attorney General and instantly set about dismantling the program. He was behind a concerted effort by lawmakers to subvert the will of the people by criticizing the apparent ease that Michigan residents enjoyed in acquiring medical certification. The doctor-patient relationship was also viewed as too “loose.”

On Monday, April 1, significant changes to the program took effect after receiving legislative approval last December. The state has inserted itself into the doctor-patient relationship by mandating that doctors must complete thorough, face-to-face medical evaluations, review patients’ medical records, and evaluate their state of health. The state is also demanding follow-ups by doctors to determine whether the medical pot is working for the ailment it’s treating.

Talk about pointless bureaucracy. (“No doctor, this cannabis medicine isn’t working. Can I have some prescription pills instead?”) No other drug in the state requires such vigilance.

Additionally, Michigan is now demanding that caregivers be disqualified if they’ve committed a felony within the last 10 years or have ever committed an assault. Previously, caregivers were only disqualified if they’d been convicted of a drug felony. Many patients will now have to find new caregivers.

But the downright stupidest new revision in Michigan’s marijuana law is that patients are required to store their medicine in a case in the trunk while riding in a motor vehicle. And if you don’t have a trunk, it must be stowed in a case that’s not easily accessible. Needless to say, no such requirements exist for Vicodin or Oxycontin, let alone booze.

The only new part of the law that favors patients is that state registry cards, which cost $100, will now be good for two years, rather than one.

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