Large crowds have been gathering in Jackson during the last week.
More than 100 people heard U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson stump for former congressman Tim Walberg on Friday. Close to 500 hit the Michigan Theatre the next day to watch the big MSU-UM football game.
As for the medical marijuana clinic that opened last week on W. Franklin Street? No large crowds that we can see, and certainly no protesters.
The quiet response says something about Michigan's experiment with medical marijuana. Last fall, voters allowed doctors to prescribe pot for serious medical conditions. Then, the general public went back to business as usual.
The state of Michigan has issued permits this year for more than 4,300 to smoke marijuana legally. There have been only scattered reports of arrests, typically for growing more marijuana than the law allows.
Opponents of last year's ballot proposal offered fair concerns, particularly that allowing marijuana use in medical cases would open the door to more widespread use by young people.
Initially, those worries seem overblown. Our guess is that youngsters either are paying little attention to the new law, or know firsthand just how easy it is to obtain marijuana. The law did not change that fact.
Where the law does fall short is in its contradictions. Medical patients who qualify are allowed to possess pot, but it's still illegal for them to buy it. As The Flint Journal reported over the weekend, state Department of Community Health officials are unsure whether patients can keep marijuana at home if they live within 1,000 feet of a school.
If anyone in the Legislature wants to take up these issues (after completing a state budget, of course), they are ripe for consideration.
But if any lawmaker wants to rein in this law, that would be a mistake. Michigan residents last year voted to offer a form of compassionate care for sick people. As we see with this clinic in Jackson, they seem pleased with their choice.
October 7, 2009
Jackson Citizen Patriot
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Medical marijuana just isn't a big deal