Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s best state regulator turned down a state panel’s plea to let medical marijuana be a part of medical care for autism on Thursday. The choice was preceded by years of attempts by families of autistic children, lawyers and advocators to have Michigan become the first state to allow marijuana used to treat autism. Mike Zimmer has been appointed the director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). According to him, he is worried that the approval would be applied to the cases of Autism that do not require marijuana and its treatment. Another thing that was noted was that parents would need to get the approval of two medical doctors, even if they are not specialized in treating autism.

Zimmer says that the decision to allow medical marijuana to be used for the treatment of autism may do more harm than good to children whose autism cases are not as severe. Dr. Harry Chugani – chief of pediatric neurology at Children’s Hospital of Michigan and a national authority on autism – followed these words with a supporting testimony. Chugani claimed “the vast majority of kids with autism do not need pot, and I won’t sign for it.” He added that the drug should only be used on those with “very bad behaviors, aggression, meltdowns.”

Following the release of Zimmer’s decision, Chugani was unable to be contacted. Zimmer’s decision also noted there was not enough scientific research to prove that using marijuana for autism would be beneficial. Robin Schneider is a spokeswoman for the National Patients Rights Association, a medical-marijuana advocacy group based in Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich. She said that the worry of there not being research is due to the conditions that are clearly aided by the drug since most research has been declared illegal to portray.

“But in this circumstance, the petitioner did an incredible job of putting together a great deal of scientific information,” said Schneider. “It’s my understanding that she is leaving the state.”


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