By Steve Elliott
The number of patients enrolled in Michigan's medical marijuana program dropped for the second year in 2014, according to state statistics.
Last year, the number of MMJ cards for patients in the program totaled 96,408, according to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, reports Charles E. Ramirez at The Detroit News. That number has fallen from 119,470 patients in 2011 and 118,368 in 2013.
An overwhelming 63 percent of Michigan voters approved the Medical Marihuana Act in 2008. It allows residents with debilitating medical conditions and a doctor's authorization to legally use cannabis.
Under the law, Michigan residents can apply for and obtain license to use and grow marijuana for medical purposes.
Bureaucrats with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs wouldn't speculate on why the numbers are down, and Morgan Fox, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, said it's not clear what's behind the decline. "The number of patients in Michigan has been fluctuating and it's not clear what's behind the decline," Fox said.
Fox said one big reason that probably limits participation in Michigan's program is that patients don't feel the law protects them from prosecution. Gung-ho anti-pot law enforcement agencies, led by notoriously anti-cannabis Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, have shown a disquieting eagerness to raid patients and providers.