DETROIT (WWJ) - Michigan gets high marks when it comes to medical marijuana, according to a new report.
Advocates have ranked Michigan among the three best states for cannabis patients in the Americans for Safe Access (ASA) annual report: "Medical Marijuana Access in the United States: A Patient-Focused Analysis of the Patchwork of State Laws."
In it, U.S. states are assigned letter grades based on how well their medical cannabis program meets the needs of patients.
"It's based on actual based on input that we've received from patients around the country," Steph Sherer, Executive Director at ASA, told WWJ Newsradio 950. "And we actually this on a 164-point system. There's actually 164 criteria we look at.":
Each state is graded according to a rubric of patient's rights, legal constraints, and overall accessibility to medical cannabis. The report gave Michigan received a B+ grade for its stateside medical cannabis program this year, ranking it one of the best states in the nation for medical cannabis patients.
This comes after, in 2016, Michigan got a failing D+.
"Last year Michigan passed a law that created a central licensing program for distribution of medical cannabis, so that greatly improved the grade," Sherer explained.
"If Michigan can move through the implementation of its new state regulated dispensary system in a timely manner and adopt strong product safety protocols, it could be one of the strongest programs for patients in the country," she said. "But in order to do so, Michigan state legislators must add civil discrimination protections in the areas of housing, employment, and organ transplants to their statewide cannabis policies."
Also with a B+ are California and Illinois. No one got an A.
While medical marijuana is now legal 28 states, plus Washington DC, Sherer said the grades show advocates still have a ways to go when it comes to the fight for patients and their rights.
"We have to overcome, because the stigma is there about what people think they know about cannabis," she added. "And so we have to educate them about why we're using cannabis as a medicine."
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