THE BLOG
02/05/2013 12:42 pm ET Updated Apr 07, 2013

Cautious Optimism for Approval of New Medical Marijuana Conditions

Last August, the state began assembling a medical marihuana review panel, with the ultimate goal of finally hearing arguments to add new conditions to the Michigan Medical Marihuana registry. Now, with the help of that panel, more than four years after Michigan residents approved the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA), the registry is close to adding its first new condition -- Parkinson's disease.

On Friday, January 25, the state's Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs review panel heard from the community about why Parkinson's should be added to the registry and the direct benefits of medical marihuana.

This is one of the most important parts of the MMMA, empowering residents to petition and garner support to add new conditions to the registry. Considering new conditions like Parkinson's and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a major step for advancing medical marihuana in Michigan and ensuring the state's residents have access to the best medical care for their condition. One could say this is the first time in four years the discussion between the Government and the medical marihuana community was focused on patient health issues instead of political and legal issues. For medical marihuana supporters, hard work and advocacy is paying off as they see the state truly recognize the medical benefits of cannabis.

Initially, the panel met in December to hear marihuana supporters and detractors voice their opinions on Parkinson's and PTSD, both of which were up for debate for potential addition to the registry. With the review panel accepting Parkinson's but denying PTSD, it's a start and reason for hope for thousands of Michiganders looking to use medical marihuana to improve the quality of their lives. While PTSD didn't make the cut, advocates continue to make their push, receiving support from the community and displaying the same strength that helped pass the MMMA initially.

Advocates and PTSD sufferers have until March for their arguments, written and orally, to be heard by Michigan's Bureau of Health Services. If the past is any indication, supporters will continue to fight to add PTSD and other conditions to the registry, strengthening the medical marihuana community in Michigan.