mike zimmer

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Michigan: Top State Regulator Rejects Medical Marijuana For Autism


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's top state regulator on Thursday rejected the advice of a state panel and refused to allow the use of medical marijuana to treat autism.

The decision followed a three-year struggle by parents of autistic children, their lawyers and patient advocates to have Michigan become the first state to specify marijuana as a treatment for autism, reports Bill Laitner at the Detroit Free Press.

Mike Zimmer, director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), claimed he was concerned that an approval wouldn't apply just to serious cases of autism, but to all cases. Zimmer said that parents applying to use medicinal cannabis would need the approval of two doctors, yet there was no requirement that either doctor be experienced in treating autism.

Zimmer said, in a four-page "Final Determination," that allowing medical marijuana for autism might do more harm than good to mildly affeted autistic children. That view followed uninformed, but damaging, testimony in Lansing by Dr. Harry Chugani, chief of pediatric neurology at Children's Hospital of Michigan, considered a national authority on autism but obviously who doesn't know much about cannabis.

"The vast majority of kids with autism do not need pot, and I won't sign for it," Chugani huffed last month. He said cannabis should be reserved for those with "very bad behaviors, aggression, meltdowns."

Michigan: Medical Marijuana Panel Votes To Add Autism To State Law


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Michigan Medical Marijuana Law Review Panel on Friday voted to recommend adding autism as a qualifying condition for treatment under the state's medicinal cannabis law.

That recommendation is now headed to the desk of Mike Zimmer, director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, who will have the final say on adding autism to the law, reports Jonathan Oosting at Mlive.com.

The review panel voted 4-2 in favor of a peitition submitted by Michigan mother Lisa Smith, who said cannabis oil helped improve her severely autistic six-year-old son's behavior, sleeping patterns and eating schedule.

"The parents I've talked to are passionate and adamant that this represents a dramatic improvement in the quality of life for them and their affected children," said David Crocker, a medicinal cannabis doctor and panel member.

"It was really a historic day in Michigan," attorney Michael Komorn said. "I can't say I remember the last time I cried over a ruling. Personally I learned on everyone within our cannabis community and they came through like superstars.

"Procedurally the next step provides that the new condition panels vote will be sent to the director of LARA for a final yes or no vote," Komorn said. "Our job is not quite finished and we will continue in this endeavor until official approval is made."

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