New tax, regulations proposed for medical marijuana



LANSING – Medical marijuana patients might have a bit harder time paying for their pot if tax legislation that recently passed the House becomes law.

Current medical marijuana regulations don’t include any tax on the drug, but that could change under a three-bill package that passed the House in a landslide vote.

One sponsor, Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville, also a chiropractor, said the legislation is an important move for Michigan as the possibility of legalization looms.

“We need to address this before it addresses us,” Callton said. “What happens in some places that legalize is you have no laws, no regulatory structure. It was really hard for them to get Pandora back in the box.

“It’s really not if, but when.”

The proposal would make medical marijuana the only taxed “prescription” medication in Michigan, said Rep. Jeff Irwin, D-Ann Arbor.

“I just don’t think that medicine should be taxed,” he said.

Technically, patients don’t get prescriptions, but they need a doctor’s recommendation to qualify for Michigan’s program, Callton said.

“I know you hear this beef – other prescription drugs aren’t taxed,” he said. “But it’s not really a prescription drug.”

Co-sponsors of his bill include Reps. John Kivela, D-Marquette; Peter Pettalia, R-Presque Isle; Scott Dianda, D-Calumet; Jon Bumstead, R-Newaygo; Phil Potvin, R-Cadillac; and Sam Singh, D-East Lansing.

Callton said the tax would go toward the cost of enforcing the new regulations, including health department and police inspections.

Marijuana is most often recommended as a palliative, or pain reliever, for ailments like glaucoma, nerve pain, Crohn’s disease and cancer. It’s undergoing testing trials for multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune diseases like HIV/AIDS, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.



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