On Friday the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that MMJ dispensaries are illegal under the state’s medical marijuana law.
In a 4 to 1 vote the State Supreme Court upheld a 2011 ruling from the Court of Appeals that said patient-to-patent sales were illegal. The ruling went on to say that medical cannabis dispensaries could be considered a “public nuisance.”
This is like saying pharmacies are a public nuisance. Maybe medicine itself is a public nuisance? Or maybe the real public nuisance are ignorant judges?
In any case, the 120,000+ patients in Michigan will now either have to grow their own or rely on one of the state’s 26,000 caregivers to grow their medicine.
Lansing, MI attorney represented Compassionate Apothecary of Mount Pleasant, MI in front of the State Supreme Court. C.A. was shut down because patients were selling marijuana to each other, with owners taking a cut.
“My recommendation to every (dispensary) would be, if there is an exchange of money, and if that exchange of money is between anybody besides a caregiver and any of their five patients, then you are in violation of state law,” Newburg said.
Michigan voters will have to decide on the existence of dispensaries and marijuana sales, if advocates can get the issue on the ballot in the future (and if Michigan officials will actually uphold it if passed.)
It goes to show that medical marijuana bills – whether for the legislature or the ballot box – need to be specific in what they allow. The vagueness of Michigan’s MMJ law has been a point of contention between patients and law enforcement since it was enacted.
The “1″ in the 4 to 1 vote was Justice Michael Cavanagh, who said, “The majority’s view is inconsistent with the purpose of the (medical marijuana law) — to promote the ‘health and welfare of (Michigan) citizens,’ because qualified patients who are in need of marijuana for medical use … are, for all practical purposes, deprived of an additional route to obtain marijuana.”
Indeed. Growing quality marijuana indoors is not an easy or inexpensive proposition; a lot of equipment and time is needed. Some patients are just too sick to manage it.
The caregiver system is fine, but caregivers are only allowed to care for five people. This is something that could cause shortages if there are not enough caregivers to go around. “Shortages” and “quality health care” are not words that mix well together in a sentence.
Advocates in Michigan need to get a bill before voters that will allow for retail sales of medical marijuana, or there will never be full access to cannabis for patients in the state. The home growing and retail purchasing of medical marijuana are both necessary for patients to have full and safe access.
- Joe Klare