Retired Troy nurse Sherry Hoover uses cannabis products to battle cancer — products she said she cannot obtain due to new state rules.

Retired Troy nurse Sherry Hoover uses cannabis products to battle cancer — products she said she cannot obtain due to new state rules.

Photo provided by Wendy Fayne Associates

Troy woman with cancer sues state over marijuana access

By: Terry Oparka | C&G Newspapers | Published June 11, 2019

TROY — A Troy woman battling stage 4 mastocytosis leukemia has sued the state agency that regulates marijuana over rules that took effect April 1, rules that she said have dried up the supply of pot she needs to continue with her treatment.

The lawsuit calls upon the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs to allow licensed provisioning centers to obtain and sell untested medical marijuana products with patient waivers, as it had allowed until March 31, to ensure a sufficient supply for the state’s medical marijuana cardholders. As of June 1, there were 287,094 active medical marijuana  cardholders.

Since April 1, marijuana products from licensed growers and caregivers have been required to be tested before the cannabis products may be sold to dispensaries.

In the lawsuit, a state-licensed provisioning center operator states that he is unable to purchase tested medical marijuana due to the limited quantity available from licensed growers.

“It takes four months for marijuana to grow from seed to sale,” said Michelle R.E. Donovan, an attorney with Butzel Long who filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court June 5.

Troy resident Sherry Hoover, 57, a retired nurse, uses prescribed medical marijuana in the form of gummy cubes, a tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC, medicated pain balm; Purple Punch Rick Simpson Oil; and 200-milligram THC Chill Medicated brand lozenges to alleviate pain, nausea, insomnia, decreased appetite from chemotherapy treatment, nose bleeds and memory loss.

At a press conference in Royal Oak June 5, Hoover said she had been without medical marijuana products for three weeks. She is down from her normal 127 pounds and fears her doctors will suspend her chemotherapy treatment because her weight is so low.

“My body used it (marijuana) to bring the pain level down,” Hoover said. “It feels like my bones are being twisted and my nerve endings are on fire all the time. I don’t know when the waves (of pain) will hit. It’s scary.”

She said her medical marijuana caregiver worked to find products that work best for her.

Hoover said the side effects of doctor-prescribed Vicodin, Norco and fentanyl made her ill.

Donovan said Hoover is unable to travel to another state to obtain the products because marijuana is not legal in all states and because of her health.

Hoover said she only travels for doctor appointments.

Hoover hopes the lawsuit will spur other medical marijuana cardholders to also take action.

In March Gov. Gretchen Whitmer stated that her executive order establishing the Marijuana Regulatory Agency within LARA “will eliminate inefficiencies that have made it difficult to meet the needs of Michigan’s medical marijuana patients.”

Whitmer could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit.

David Harms, LARA’s communications manager, said they are not commenting on pending litigation.

He said the governor’s executive order was instituted after medical marijuana failed safety tests — showing levels of pesticides and heavy metals. Harms said the purpose of the regulations was to ensure the marijuana meets safety standards.

“There’s nothing that stops the patient from going to a caregiver,” he added, in reference to the 2008 law that allows patients to work with caregivers to “make whatever product they want.”