Pot patients plea for compassion

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette The Calumet Village Council heard from several members of the community who are currently medical marijuana patients, receiving their medication from Zen Garden in Calumet. The dispensary was forced to close on Dec. 15 as a result of the council’s decision to take no action regarding the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act until there was some clarity from the state in regards to regulation and licensing of the drug.

CALUMET — Medical marijuana was the main topic of discussion during the Petitions from the Public period of Tuesday’s Calumet Village Council meeting, with no less than 17 medical marijuana patients criticizing the council’s decision to take no action on the Michigan Medical Marijuana act, which forced the closure of Zen Garden, the sole medical marijuana dispensary in Calumet.

Alicia Roundtree, who owns and operated Zen Garden until its closure on Dec. 15, said she opened Zen Garden because she saw a need. Roundtree, who has a degree in nursing, said her facility was the only one that required lab testing to ensure that patients could trust that their medicine was safe, and they could see what the potency of their medicine was.

“I believe I’m also the only dispensary/caregiver that has any kind of past medical training,” Roundtree said in addressing the council.

“These people use medical marijuana as a daily therapeutic regime,” she said, “so they don’t have seizures, so they don’t have nausea after cancer treatments. They’ve had access to this medicine here for seven plus years in Calumet.”

Roundtree said the council’s decision to take no action on the ordinance took away from her patients their right and access to medicine they need.

“Because as a council, it’s your responsibility to protect their health, safety, and general welfare,” she told the council. “And when you closed the Zen Garden, all of these (patients) were affected.”