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Are Dispensaries legal?
The Michigan Supreme Court ostensibly slammed the door on marijuana shops in the most significant legal decision since voters approved pot for medical use in 2008. However, there may still be some ways to make dispensaries legal.
The court ruled in a 4-1 opinion that the owners of dispensaries “are not entitled to operate a business that facilitates patient-to-patient sales of marijuana.” However, Caregiver to registered patient sales are still protected under Section 4 of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.
(Related: Know Your Rights)
State law says people can possess up to 2.5 ounces of “usable” marijuana and keep up to 12 plants in a locked place. Also, a caregiver can provide marijuana to up to five people.
The Supreme Court ruled in the case of People v. McQueen with the defendant Compassionate Apothecary in Mount Pleasant. The shop allowed members to sell marijuana to one another and received as much as a 20 percent cut. The state appeals court said the shop was illegal and could be shut down as a public nuisance in 2011. Some dispensaries have remained in business while the case was pending. Close to 125,000 people in Michigan are registered to use medical marijuana.
(Related: Michigan Medical Marihuana Act)
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette hailed the court’s decision and said he would notify the 83 county prosecutors that they are empowered to shut down dispensaries.
“This law is narrowly focused to help the seriously ill, not an open door to unrestricted retail marijuana sales,” Schuette said in a statement. “Dispensaries will have to close their doors.”
The lone dissenter, Justice Michael Cavanagh said the decision conflicts with the purpose of the voter-approved law — to promote “health and welfare” of citizens.
“Qualified patients who are in need of marijuana for medical use, yet do not have the ability to either cultivate marijuana or find a trustworthy caregiver, are … deprived of an additional route,” Cavanagh said.
Tim Beck of Detroit, who helped write the successful 2008 ballot proposal, told the Detroit Free Press that advocates purposely excluded any mention of dispensaries in the law.
“We thought the word — dispensary — was just too dangerous and would cause us to lose at the polls,” he said.
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State Rep. Mike Callton, R-Nashville, said he will introduce a bill to legalize dispensaries.
“Not everyone can grow their own,” Callton said. “It’s really difficult to grow medical marijuana. You’re going to have lots of people out there without access. It will essentially drive it underground, which is not where we want medical marijuana.”
Read more: http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/5e7b9a47040f4431a749d2d7fe488226/MI–Medical-Marijuana-Michigan