The Michigan Medical Marijuana Review Panel rejected a petition to include autism and asthma as conditions that would be eligible for medical marijuana on Tuesday. The vote was 2 to 7 against, with one panel member absent.
Some Michigan parents, like Jenny Allen, were disappointed. She’s tried several special diets, medications, and psychiatric therapies in the hopes of treating her 6 year old son’s autism, but he still suffers from self-injurious behaviors that she can do little to stop. She was hoping to try medical marijuana, in the form of a brownie, after reading about several other families who successfully treated their children’s intense rages and self-injurious behaviors with the drug.
This was the first ruling by the panel, which was recently reconstituted after the state Licensing and Regulatory Authority ruled that state regulations were not followed when the original members of the panel were appointed. The legality of the current panel is still under question, as only six of the ten members also serve on the state’s Advisory Committee on Pain and Symptom Management, while state regulations require seven.
On Tuesday, two panel members cited anecdotal evidence that medical marijuana can be beneficial to children with autism. Jeanne Lewandowski, director of palliative medicine at St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit expressed concern regarding exposing children to medical marijuana, citing lack of research on the effects of marijuana on the developing brain. Medical marijuana will not be available to children with autism in Michigan, for now.