Michigan Appeals Court Rules Marijuana Dispensaries Illegal

A three-judge panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled today that medical marijuana dispensaries are illegal based on a 2008 law that forbids the sale of the substance. “Medical use of marijuana, as defined by the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, does not include patient-to-patient sales of marijuana, and no other provision of the MMMA can be read to permit such sales,” the court stated. “Therefore, defendants have no authority to actively engage in and carry out the selling of marijuana between (apothecary) members.”

The ruling stemmed from a case in Isabella County where people with state-issued medical marijuana cards sold marijuana to each other.

Our medical marijuana expert, Samantha Moffett, was contacted by the local press in an effort obtain a statement with her reaction to the ruling. She had this to say:

“It is disappointing that the Michigan Appellate Court has ruled against the will of the people.  The lower court’s decision was firmly grounded in law.  The sale of medical marijuana was never legal.  The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act’s plain language allows for a registered Caregiver to receive compensation for assisting a registered Patient in the “medical use” of marijuana.  This language provides protection for a registered Caregiver to receive compensation for their services associated with a Patient’s acquisition, possession, transportation of medical marijuana, all of which creates a legal dispensary-style business.
The Act has a prohibition section, and no where is the transfer of medicine between those legally protected in their possession prohibited.  It is absurd to think the drafters of this law did not contemplate these transactions occurring in a dispensary-style setting.  Common sense and logic tells us they did, and they chose not to prohibit it.
It is not just business-minded Patients and Caregivers that believe dispensaries are a legal business structure in Michigan; multiple municipalities across the State have passed ordinances allowing and structuring such businesses.  Municipalities across the State have done a phenomenal job regulating land use and businesses utilizing their authority under the Michigan Enabling Act and applying the language of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.  Cities and townships have been able to fill commercial spaces that have been dormant for years, generate jobs, collect licensing fees to fund the municipality, and most importantly provide safe access to medicine for Patients.  The Appellate Court has taken these things from the people of Michigan today.
There are no answers as to how the hundreds of businesses affected by this decision should react to this decision.  As of right now, all dispensaries in the State of Michigan are considered a nuisance and must be shut down unless they want to be pulled into court.  It will be interesting to see how municipalities who have collected licensing fees from these businesses react to this decision as well.

Marijuana dispensing facilities taking over suburban neighborhoods because there are no legal places available to do it in a commercial space, the weed dealers in parking lots and hallways, dealing without any regulations or ID checks – these evils are the result of the prohibitionary status quo.  These evils are why we should fear this prohibition, not legalization. “

If you have been charged with a crime related to medical marijuana contact Daniel Ambrose 248-808-3130 or  at www.marijuanlawyermichigan.com

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4 Comments

Filed under Marijuana, Medical Marijuana

4 responses to “Michigan Appeals Court Rules Marijuana Dispensaries Illegal

  1. Patient 0

    I am amazed that no one has proposed amendments to the bill to regulate and clarify these issues via the clause provided in the initial legislation. Now we have all these age pro-prohibition politicians flouting the will of the people without even listening to the desperate pleas of the people this act was originally designed to serve. they proclaim from their soapboxes that people with no real need are using the law to their own benefit. Well that’s going to happen with any medication that has the potential to make one euphoric. Look at the flagrant use of vicodone and oxycottin, find me a teen that hasn’t swiped some from the med cabinet please. I would rather have my kids experiment with a non addictive substance that is also produced by our own brains(cannabanoids), than get hooked on prescription grade heroin. Do the research for yourselves, look beyond the propaganda and discover your own truth make your choice and let your voice be heard.

    • Samantha

      I actually sat on a legislative committee last year which addressed a number of the issues we see making their way through the court system. There, a subcommittee did propose an amendment be brought in front of the outgoing State Legislature just before lame-duck, with hopes that before the current Republican regime took over the State, some clarification on businesses relating to the legal and safe access to medicine would be addressed. Unfortunately, the amendment was never pushed forward as the committee’s majority thought other issues took precedent. If the State was to set out an infrastructure for dispensaries, the State would have to run it. This is not something the State is interested in undertaking. Hopefully, the MI Supreme Court will find a reasonable solution; and, at the very least continue allow the municipalities regulate the issue through zoning while reversing the Court of Appeals position on Patient-to-Patient “sales”.

  2. Nivek

    It is a sad state of affairs when our democracy is destroyed. For better or worse, we are supposed to live in a country that is controlled by the will of the people. What is the point of voting anymore if a few people can override our decisions. I love America but we are losing what makes us great slowly everyday.

  3. Pingback: MI Court of Appeals Makes Another Medical Marihuana Decision | Ambrose Law Group

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