If you live in Detroit, chances are that you may have seen a medical marijuana dispensary within the city. If you have a qualifying condition, you may have even bought medical marijuana at one of these locations. Despite their prevalence—with at least 50 to 180 operating in the city limits this year according to the Detroit Free Press—medical marijuana dispensaries in Detroit are technically illegal.
While the city may turn a blind eye to some of the dispensaries that operate in Detroit and have strict medical marijuana card policies, the city can be inconsistent when it comes to enforcement. The Michigan Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that such dispensaries can be shut down using the state’s public nuisance law, and since that time many busts have been made, including during this year.
Can I Still Buy Cannabis Products from Dispensaries in Detroit?
For patients with a legitimate need for medical marijuana, these conflicting principles can be confusing. Many patients fear that they will be prosecuted as well if their supplier is busted, but luckily this should not be a legal problem in Michigan. A patient with a medical marijuana card is immune to criminal charges regardless of the source of their supply. Still, uncertainties make the legality of dispensaries murky. City ordinances seem to support some businesses, yet many are shut down seemingly indiscriminately.
In hopes of clarifying medical marijuana laws and ensuring easy access to marijuana for patients, proposals have been made to officially legalize and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries in Detroit in the future. City Councilman James Tate is working to develop city ordinances that would set rules and allow dispensaries to operate within Detroit. Other legislation at the state level has been proposed to create a similar system of regulation. Proposed rules are likely to appear on the ballot next year. In the meantime, dispensary owners risk possible legal penalties, even if strictly employing suggested access policies.
In the end, it probably is safe to purchase from Detroit dispensaries, but the risks to business owners are unclear. Until changes can be made to local or Michigan laws, easy and safe access to medical marijuana for sick patients may remain elusive, especially in the suburbs. Hopefully, changes will be made soon to ensure that the law is clear and sensible in regards to medical marijuana dispensaries in Detroit. Until then, dispensary owners and patients alike remain vulnerable.
If you are arrested or questioned due to these unclear dispensary regulations, it is important that you demand your rights. An experienced Michigan medical marijuana lawyer will be able to help protect your rights and fight for the best outcome possible. Call us at the Davis Law Group right away for a free consultation at (313) 818-3238. Find out how we may be able to help.