Michigan Won’t Allow Medical Marijuana for Autism

By Victoria Kim 09/04/15

Supporters, including parents of autistic children, campaigned for three years.

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Michigan’s top state regulator rejected a recommendation to allow medical marijuana to treat autism, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Mike Zimmer, director of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, said he was not convinced that autism should be added to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.

“While the record is replete with sincere and well-articulated testimony on the potential benefits of medical marijuana to autism patients and, in particular, parents of autistic children, several troubling concerns remain,” Zimmer wrote in his final determination.

In a 4-2 vote last month, the Medical Marijuana Law Review Panel recommended approval of a petition brought by Lisa Smith, who reported a dramatic improvement in the behavior, sleep, and eating schedule of her severely autistic six-year-old son, who qualified for medical marijuana because of epileptic seizures.

Michigan would have been the first state to allow medical marijuana to treat autism. Supporters, including parents of autistic children, are disappointed after three years of efforts to add autism as a qualifying condition.

“I’m going to have to keep looking at more treatment options and to be part of the movement to educate these people in Lansing,” Dwight Zahringer, whose preschool-age son is autistic, told the Detroit Free Press.

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