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