MICHIGAN PREVENTION ASSOCIATION
KEY STATEMENTS OF CONCERN REGARDING
THE MICHIGAN MEDICAL MARIHUANA* LAW
JUNE 5, 2012
Michigan Prevention Association (MPA) members work in communities across Michigan to improve health and productivity and reduce harm caused by the addictive and early use of substances. Families, schools, communities, and individuals have indicated a need for accurate, scientific information on marihuana use. Currently, the marijuana* industry is framing recreational drug use as medicinal use, discussing marijuana as a medical treatment of disease/injury, and claiming the use of marijuana to be a safer – even harmless – alternative to prescription drugs. The Michigan Prevention Association’s Medical Marihuana Task Force (MMTF) has reviewed the Michigan Medical Marihuana Law (MMML), held conferences, entered into dialog with other agencies and communities, and researched factors related to the implementation of the MMML. Out of this process, the MMTF identifies the following four key concerns of most critical interest regarding prevention of marijuana abuse and promoting safe and healthy communities.
There are many unclear polices and guidelines in the current Michigan Medical Marihuana Law. Because lack of clarity may be easily exploited for purposes not in the public’s best interest, there is a significant potential regarding a diminishing quality of life, related to health and safety, in our communities. The Michigan Prevention Association proposes that industry standards must be created to 1) protect the health and safety of the community, and 2) establish policies and norms in our communities that are supportive of healthy environments within which our children live.
Medical marijuana laws have allowed for the creation of formal and informal marijuana dispensaries responsible for meeting the marijuana demands of medical marijuana card holders. As a result, there has been an increase in crime and violence at these dispensaries and in the communities where they are found. Residents of these communities feel less safe and are concerned about all of the negative consequences the distribution of medical marijuana is having on their communities. Michigan residents need to learn from the mistakes made elsewhere and prevent them from occurring in our state.
Communities in Michigan are suffering, factories are closing and people are leaving the state to find work elsewhere. Cities are finding ways to diversify their economies. The Michigan Prevention Association believes that communities across Michigan should responsibly redevelop businesses. Medical Marihuana grow shops and dispensaries are a strain on our communities, they divert precious public safety resources and their presence decreases the perception of harm from marijuana usage among our youth. MPA believes that cities and townships should create strong standards to avoid this negative economic development.
FRAMING THE MESSAGE / PERCEPTION OF HARM
The Michigan Prevention Association (MPA) recommends scientific, research-based facts about marijuana use and related issues, be a basic element in any discussion, including the alleged benefits of marijuana use as medicine and pain management. Additionally, MPA has concerns regarding the rise of marijuana cultivation, sales, exchange, availability to youth, and consumption in Michigan communities related to the passage of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Law.
For further information, contact an MPA member in your community or the MMTF Chair, John Kroneck at JohnKroneck@CherryHealth.com, 989-831-4591, or Health Promotion Services, PO Box 836, Stanton MI 48888.
SPECIFIC CONCERNS TABLE REGARDING SUBSTANCE ABUSE
PREVENTION AND COMMUNITY HEALTH AND THE
MICHIGAN MEDICAL MARIHUANA* LAW
In November of 2008 the Michigan voters passed a law that provides for the use of marijuana* for medicinal purposes. The Michigan Prevention Association (MPA) has identified specific concerns regarding the Michigan Medical Marihuana Law (MMML). The concerns involve the implementation practices and the resulting effects, as well as future affects, this law may have on communities, families and youth in Michigan.
As such, this document captures a number of specific concerns, focusing them into four Key Statements of Concern around the MMML. Further, the specific concerns fall under multiple areas of life in a given community. Therefore, a table is provided identifying the area of life, or Segments of the Community, and their relationship with the identified specific concerns.
USING THE KEY STATEMENTS OF CONCERN
The major concerns around the MMML are summarized to provide focused messages for community members to consider when addressing concerns in their local home towns. In addition, as communities throughout Michigan speak with state legislators using the common Key Statements, legislators will hear the same messages, thereby empowering the voice of prevention and community health values.
In addition to the Key Statements, MPA also recommends augmenting the messages with personal local stories. These local stories are critical in making the Key Statements real for the legislators. Likewise when working with local media outlets – the consistent Key Statements with personal local stories will empower the stories to reach our neighbors.
Finally, the proponents of medical marihuana dispensaries will attempt to use partial research as proof and personal stories of their own to win the argument of the day. Having public meetings turn into emotionally charged debates is NOT a recommended approach. As people concerned about the health of our youth and vitality of our communities, it is incumbent upon us to drive the conversation. Stay focused on the Key Statements and stress the importance that community leaders address each of the concerns with solid scientific reasoning.
It is not always easy being a community decision maker. Through thoughtful and respectful actions, show yourself to be a resource for your representatives – village, city and/or state. Most all community leaders – legislators – are serving because they would like to see improvements in their communities. It is recommended that those who live in their communities let them know you support your legislator/community leader as you share what you value with respect to the quality of life in your home town.
Table of Prevention Focused Concerns Related to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Law
The Michigan Prevention Association has identified a number of prevention focused specific concerns related to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Law (MMML). These concerns fall under multiple areas of life in a given community. The following table provides the area of life, or Segments of the Community, and their relationship with the identified specific concerns.