Michigan Supreme Court Rules Against Marijuana Dispensaries
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Medical marijuana dispensaries are not allowed in Michigan. The Michigan Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that the medical marijuana initiative approved by voters in 2008 does not allow registered patients to sell medical marijuana to other registered patients. Patients are still allowed to grow their own medical marijuana. From the Court’s opinion:
Nevertheless, the immunity from arrest, prosecution, or penalty provided to a registered qualifying patient in § 4 of the MMMA for engaging in the medical use of marijuana can be rebutted upon a showing “that conduct related to marihuana was not for the purpose of alleviating the qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the debilitating medical condition, in accordance with this act.”5 Because the MMMA’s immunity provision clearly contemplates that a registered qualifying patient’s medical use of marijuana only occur for the purpose of alleviating his own debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with his debilitating medical condition, and not another patient’s condition or symptoms, § 4 does not authorize a registered qualifying patient to transfer marijuana to another registered qualifying patient. Accordingly, while the Court of Appeals erred by excluding sales from the definition of “medical use,” we affirm on alternative grounds its conclusion that the MMMA does not contemplate patient-to-patient sales of marijuana for medical use and that, by facilitating such sales, defendants’ business constituted a public nuisance.
The Michigan Supreme Court is the highest court in the state so this ruling is final. To legally get medical marijuana dispensaries in Michigan will likely require a new law either approved by the state legislature or adopted by the state’s ballot initiative process.
In the meantime patients in Michigan may find it more difficult to get access to medical marijuana.
Photo by O’Dea under Creative Commons license