A three-judge panel of the Michigan Appeals Court ruled today that medical marijuana in Michigan cannot be legally sold. The ruling essentially makes marijuana dispensaries illegal in the state. The decision stems from a case that was brought up against Compassionate Apothecary, a Mount Pleasant dispensary.
State Attorney General Bill Schuette, who has been waging a war on medical marijuana for some time now, called the ruling “a huge victory for public safety and Michigan communities struggling with an invasion of pot shops near their schools, homes and churches. The court echoed the concerns of law enforcement, clarifying that this law is narrowly focused to help the seriously ill, not the creation of a marijuana free-for-all.” Cass County Prosecutor Victor Fitz said he was happy about the decision as it “supports the intent of the voters and the intent of the statute. Nowhere in the statute does it provide for dispensaries.”
Sadly, the intent of the statute is not something easily assessed as it it a vague and messy law to begin with. Indeed, the 2008 michigan medical marijuana law says nothing about dispensaries or any other method of acquiring marijuana except for growing it. Patients are allowed to possess up to 2 1/2 ounces of usable marijuana and up to 12 plants; it also authorizes caregivers. However, this is not an option for many out of the almost 100,000 registered Michigan medical marijuana patients.
Among the michigan medical marijuana community, the outrage is palpable. “They’re going to perpetuate the black market,” says Robb Lapeen from the Cannabis research Institute. “All the legal growers overages will go onto the black market if they are not allowed to go into the hands of certified patients.” Michigan Association of Compassion Centers spokesperson Robin Schneider said the ruling “will create situations where people are selling marijuana in their neighborhoods. Little old ladies are going to be meeting on street corners to get their medicine.” Ann Arbor dispensary president Chuck Ream promised a fight and “wheelchairs chained to every door at the Capitol.”
The dispensary involved in the case allowed patients to sell to each other and took a percentage of the profit. The Court reasoned that “The medical use of marijuana does not include patient-to-patient sales of marijuana. Defendants, therefore, have no authority to operate a marijuana dispensary that actively engages in and carries out patient-to-patient sales.” Of course, any business-to-patient sales are also not allowed by the Michigan law.
Only recently, cities like Ann Arbor and Lansing had developed their own ordinances to license dispensaries. These plans will likely be put on hold now as the estimated 300+ Michigan marijuana dispensaries fight to appeal and look for ways to somehow stay open in the coming weeks. Hopefully, this will result in a push for a more comprehensive medical marijuana law that does not flatly deny access to thousands of patients in need.
By: Marijuana News