MICHIGAN APPEALS COURT RULES DISPENSARIES ILLEGAL!
Michigan Marijuana Dispensaries Illegal, Appeals Court Rules
Medical marijuana cannot be sold in dispensaries, the Michigan Court of Appeals held in an opinion released Wednesday. The ruling held that the state’s 2008 voter-approved medical marijuana law does not allow for medical marijuana to be sold, even among the nearly 100,000 people who have state-issued medical marijuana cards.
The 3-0 decision came in Michigan v. McQueen, in which local authorities had sought to shut down the Compassionate Apothecary in Mount Pleasant as a “public nuisance.” The ruling means other communities can target the estimated 200 to 300 dispensaries now operating in the state.
“The ‘medical use’ of marijuana does not include patient-to-patient ‘sales’ of marijuana. Defendants, therefore, have no authority under the [law] to operate a marijuana dispensary that actively engages in and carries out patient-to-patient sales,” said appeals court judges Joel Hoekstra, Christopher Murray and Cynthia Diane Stephens.
“This ruling is a huge victory for public safety and Michigan communities struggling with an invasion of pot shops near their schools, homes and churches,” said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a statement. “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.”
Not everyone was as pleased as Schuette. Chuck Ream, of A2 Compassionate Health Care in Ann Arbor told the Associated Press the ruling was an “assault on democracy” that would leave large numbers of patients who depend on dispensaries out in the cold.
“If they want wheelchairs chained to every door at the Capitol, if they want to fight about this — oh, boy, they’ll have a fight,” said Ream. “There are a lot of people who don’t want to be drooling idiots on Oxycontin. They’ve found a medicine that relieves their pain and makes them happy.”
Robin Schneider, spokesperson for the Michigan Association of Compassion Centers, told the Lansing News the decision will force medical marijuana distribution into neighborhoods and gas station parking lots.
“It’s horrible,” she said of the decision. “My biggest concern right now is that what they have done is they have made a decision that will in fact shut down the dispensaries. This will create situations where people are selling marijuana in their neighborhoods,” she said. “Little old ladies are going to be meeting on street corners to get their medicine,” she said, making them easy targets for crime. “Dispensaries create safe access to medicine.”
Michigan medical marijuana patients and providers had hoped the courts would save them from antithetical local governments, but they have been proven wrong. Now, if they want a dispensary system, they are going to have to fight long political battles. In the meantime, it’s the patients who will be out of luck.