ESCANABA – The new Michigan Medical Marijuana Act is starting a conversation locally. The director of the new U.P. NORML group recently discussed the issue in an interview with the Daily Press.
U.P. NORML is a chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Jerry Glasscock, executive director, said the new act should be regarded as a right declared by the people of the state.
“This right started through a different way, it was a law the people were directly involved in and voted for themselves, instead of a select few voting in Lansing and deciding how we should live,” Glasscock said.
He said the effective date of the act should be the date it was voted into law, Nov. 4. When people could start legally growing marijuana has been a source of controversy and debate.
“Right now, I see a lot of splitting hairs over this and that is not what should be happening here,” he said. “If somebody started growing medical marijuana in November or December for someone who has cancer or has a doctor’s prescription (it is legal). Why are we splitting hairs over the date? That is a waste of time and that is what will clog up the courts.”
Glasscock said local law enforcement should be support the law, as it is their job to do so. He said although police and prosecutors may be against the medical use of marijuana now, he hopes in time they will accept it.
“This law is so new that they haven’t adapted their opinions yet. But they will have to,” he said. “When you look at other states, like California, I’m sure they went through the same thing, but now they don’t seem to have that problem anymore.”
Glasscock said he thinks there is peer pressure in the police communities to be anti-marijuana.
“We hope to get more and more education out there for people to see that cannabis is not really a terrible thing, as well as all the benefits of hemp,” he said.
Glasscock said it is his hope U.P. law enforcement will familiarize themselves with the law so as not to accidentally arrest subjects who are allowed to grow and use marijuana.
“It is law enforcement’s job to enforce the law,” said Glasscock. “I believe pleading ignorance is a cop out.”
Glasscock maintains the public was not duped into passing the act, which passed in Michigan by a margin of 63 percent.
“The people read the proposal and they understood what it was and they voted for it,” he said.
Prescription drug abuse is a growing problem, Glasscock said, and perhaps the availability of marijuana for those who need pain medication will result in less of these pills on the street. He said marijuana is not addictive and there has never been a reported overdose on the substance.
“I would much rather see people trying to treat their pain with cannabis than Oxycontin or Vicodin,” he said.
Glasscock said doctors should also familiarize themselves with medical marijuana and the benefits of the drug, so they can knowledgeably prescribe it to individuals who need it.
Glasscock is a certified medical marijuana patient himself. He said he is available to speak to organizations and forums about medical marijuana and legal issues as well as other things NORML is involved in, such as the promotion of the industrial use of hemp. He also said he will work on bringing experts to the U.P. for symposiums on the subjects.
For more information on U.P. NORML, or if you need resources to discuss the viability of medical marijuana for a condition you suffer from, call Jerry Glasscock at (906) 450-5565 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the local organization’s Web site located at www.upnorml.ning.com
By Audrey LaFave