Local parents fighting for change to Mich. medical marijuana law - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Local parents fighting for change to Mich. medical marijuana laws

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Medical marijuana is legal in Michigan, but confusion on how the drug can be used and distributed still lingers. Two local mothers are hoping to raise awareness of their child's health improvements after using the drug to change that confusion.

Belinda Phillips is the mother of 20-year-old Marly who suffers from seizures, and says she wished she had learned about medical marijuana as a treatment option for her daughter much sooner than a month ago.

"She's had about a 50 percent reduction in the number of seizures that she has daily and about a 50 percent reduction in the intensity of the seizures," Phillips says.

The story is the same for 15-year-old Cooper, who was taken out of school and suffers from Dravet Syndrome, which also causes multiple seizures throughout the day.

"He was seizing several times a day, and now, at his worst, it would be maybe once a week," says Rebecca Brown.

These parents are part of a much larger group that are fighting for medical marijuana use in Michigan for their children. Some of those parents have even younger children.

"I have met children as young as four years old in Michigan. I have met children suffering from severe epilepsy to stage-four brain stem glaucoma cancer," says Robin Schneider. She is the co-writer of a set of bills expected to reach the Senate floor in the next few weeks. She says the bills will clarify the state's medical marijuana laws by regulating testing and facilities, but also protect patients who use other forms of the drug like capsules, oil or liquid.

Those against the idea of children using the drug question the impact on the children's growing brains. Dr. Marcus DeGraw, a pediatrician at St. John Hospital, says he's open to the idea but understands the opposition.

"There needs to be some studies; there needs to be studies not only for the effectiveness but possible long-term side effects because we simply don't know that," DeGraw says.

Despite the unknown, these parents agree all the proof they need is in the faces of their children.

Information on the bills is below:

HB 4271 will empower local municipalities to allow, ban, zone and further regulate medical marijuana Provisioning Centers. This legislation will protect patients by providing access to medication that is safe and tested. This "local option" will provide municipalities with licensing guidelines and give control to individual communities to regulate medical marijuana distribution as they see fit.

HB 5104 will set regulations for the production and distribution of non-smoking forms of medical marijuana such as capsules, tinctures and topical applications. The legislation, which is an amendment to the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act will bring clarity to the law and protect patients who rely on these products by providing them with legal immunity.

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