Cannabis for Autism – Michigan on the forefront

cannabisDespite what can only be described as overwhelming evidence, LARA, the agency tasked with addressing petitions for new conditions, refused to hold a hearing or even consider the petition. This stonewall position seemingly demanded that attorneys Michael Komorn and Tim Knowlton, the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, and Cannabis Patients United sue LARA in the Ingham County Court. It was only after nearly a year of litigation and foot dragging that LARA ceded its position. Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office “defended” LARA’s position by delaying for months, only yielding after the petitioner filed her brief with the court, days before oral arguments.

Unfortunately it seems the lives of children and parents hang in the balance of a possibly disinterested and dysfunctional process controlled by LARA.

In years past, I said people who opposed the medical use of cannabis have never experienced a friend, family member, or person who was suffering from a medical condition receive relief from it. But to oppose the treatment of autism for patients afflicted with the disease is inhumane and medically unethical. To let the status quo remain and subject parents and the physicians who treat these children with exposure to arrest and criminal charges is a deplorable policy. There is overwhelming scientific and medical evidence supporting the approval of the petition. There has now been more peer reviewed evidence provided in support of the use of cannabis as a treatment for autism than had been previously submitted for all of the other ten conditions currently on the registry.

It is important to be mindful of an often overlooked aspect of the MMMA: that its purpose is to protect the serious ill persons who have been recommended to use cannabis with a doctor’s (in this case two doctors) recommendation and a bona fide relationship, from arrest and prosecution.

There should be no debate that those afflicted with autism are seriously ill, and the purpose of our law, and the compassion shown by Michigan voters in approval, was to protect parents, patients, and physicians. For the panel to not recommend that autism be approved as a condition of the program is to ignore their duty and responsibility.

All too often the issues regarding medical cannabis and cannabis in general are politicized. Even at times using the propagandist’s favorite imagery of protecting the children. Well this issue is really about the children, and the only thing that should be considered is that there is overwhelming evidence that cannabis can provide a safe alternative to the traditional medications and treatments currently used for those afflicted with it. Meanwhile, parents and doctors live in fear of criminal liability.

The Michigan Medical Marijuana Review Panel will convene publicly on July 31st, 2015 at 1 pm at 611 W. Ottawa in Lansing to discuss this petition. Supporters are encouraged to attend.

Knowing the history of the administration, we remain cautiously optimistic that autism will be approved as a new condition. We hope to see Michigan become a center for advancements in research and alternative treatments for autism.  Our goal is to help facilitate lawful and viable treatment options.

About the Authors

Michael Komorn is recognized as a leading expert on the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. He is the President of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association (MMMA), a nonprofit patient advocacy group with over 30,000 members, which advocates for medical marijuana patients, and caregiver rights. Michael is an experienced trial lawyer and has been in practice for over 20 years. Michael is also the host of Planet Green Trees Radio, a marijuana reform based show, which is broadcast every Thursday night 8-10 pm EST. Follow Komorn on Twitter.

Dr. Christian Bogner is a clinical Professor at Oakland University, William Beaumont School of Medicine and in private practice. He is editor for, where he published his research summaries. He is the founder of “Let it grow for Autism”, which can be found on or on facebook. His work is supported by Harvard Professor Emeritus and High Times lifetime Achievement Winner Dr. Lester Grinspoon as well as US representative Dr. Ron Paul.