South Bend, Ind.
– A South Bend Orthopedic Surgeon says the city has a lot of work to do on its medical marijuana program, but he says he is “disappointed” by the city health department’s decision to pass a bill that would allow medical marijuana patients to legally purchase up to one ounce of marijuana.
In a letter sent to Mayor Pete Buttigieg and the health department, Dr. Thomas Ferenczi of the South Bend Health System wrote that the city is “losing” the public’s trust and is jeopardizing the health of its citizens.
Dr. Ferenazi said the bill would allow “patients to grow up to four plants, or six plants in certain cases” but it would not allow medical patients to “grow marijuana as a way to alleviate pain and suffering.”
Ferencza, who also chairs the board of the North Central Indiana Medical Association, also wrote that he was “very concerned about the potential for diversion of marijuana to criminal activity.”
He said the city was allowing patients to grow marijuana as “a way to relieve pain and the potential that the drug could become addictive.”
Dr, Fereczi wrote, “I am particularly concerned about diversion of medical marijuana into the illegal market.
The current law is in a very poor position to address the risks associated with medical marijuana.”
Dr Ferecenczi said he spoke to his board members on Monday and they are working to pass an amendment to the city law that would change the current law so patients could grow up 2-foot-tall plants, not just one-foot.
He also said that the medical marijuana laws passed in Indiana and Minnesota are too restrictive, and said the proposed amendments to the Indiana bill should also be amended to include a provision that would create a medical marijuana network similar to that in Michigan and allow physicians to offer marijuana to their patients for treatment.
Dr Ferenciz said he has not been in touch with the health departments office in the two states, but said he hopes to see more changes to the current laws before he makes a final recommendation on the amendments.
DrFerececz said he also plans to talk with local health departments on how to better monitor the medical cannabis community.