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LARA director rejects autism for medical pot, upending state board approval

marijuana plant
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A medical marijuana clinic owner offered pot to customers who also registered to vote

Despite getting the go-ahead from a state board made up largely of physicians, Michigan will not allow autism patients to use medical marijuana.

Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Director Mike Zimmer overturned the board’s recommendation to add autism to the list of qualifying conditions. Zimmer cited a lack of scientific research on the benefits of cannabis for autism patients as well as concerns about effects on children.

“This lack of scientific evidence is more concerning when considering the broad scope of the petition, which does not limit medical marihuana to only severe cases of autism,” Zimmer wrote in his determination letter.

“Even those cited as supporting the use of medical marihuana for autistic treatment raised this concern.”

Supporters of the petition blasted Zimmer’s decision and explanation.

“This opinion says that we’re going to criminalize these parents,” said Michael Komorn, a medical marijuana attorney who submitted the petition on behalf of a client.

“What we’re really suggesting,” he said, “is that doctors that would recommend this are not going to get arrested and they can do so freely and supervise and oversee the patients, and that parents that want to try these types of treatments are not going to get arrested. That’s all this is about.”

Komorn is considering a court challenge to the decision.

“I think that this is a substantive issue that, when reviewed by an objective judicial branch, would find differently.”

Here’s a link to Zimmer’s determination letter – http://www.michigan.gov/documents/lara/lara_Final_Determination_Medical_Marihuana_Autism_08272015_498519_7.pdf