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No-fault coverage could not cover medical pot under bill

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By Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network

LANSING, MI – A state Senate panel has voted to forbid mandatory no-fault auto benefits from paying for medical marijuana. The panel approved the bill over the objections of medical marijuana advocates.

Patient groups say marijuana should be covered as an alternative to narcotic painkillers. Insurance companies say claims have been filed by people who want their coverage to pay the costs of medical marijuana as a treatment for chronic pain from an auto accident.

State Senator Rick Jones says that was never the intent of voters who approved the medical marijuana law in 2008.

"I have been very concerned about this ever since the ballot initiative passed because I think it will drive up the cost of auto insurance," Jones says.

Jones is one of the Legislature's loudest critics of the law. He and other lawmakers are trying to enact some additional rules on medical marijuana - including a one-year residency requirement before someone could qualify for a Michigan medical marijuana card.

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