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Detroit Legal Blog

Michigan Appeals Court Rules Against Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Jun 08, 2016, by Maurice Davis in Criminal Defense, Drug Crimes, Legal Blog, Marijuana

In a May 17 decision, a Michigan Appeals court issued a ruling that highlights the state’s unworkable medical marijuana system. According to the decision, it’s illegal to cultivate, manufacture, deliver, sell or transfer marijuana to a registered patient or caregiver unless you are a registered patient or caregiver yourself. This means that you can get convicted of drug trafficking even if all of your clients are registered patients. If you find yourself in a legal battle, don’t delay calling Detroit drug defense lawyer Maurice Davis immediately.

Marijuana dispensaries are not explicitly authorized by Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Act. Nonetheless, dispensaries operated unhindered across Michigan until a 2013 State Supreme Court gave municipalities a legal basis for shutting them down. Now, any municipal government can label a dispensary a “public nuisance” and shut it down.

Medical Marijuana Caregivers Are Being Treated as Traffickers

The issue of dispensaries being declared a public nuisance is distinct from the question of whether prosecutors can charge a dispensary’s owners with drug trafficking. The May 17 appeals court decision effectively prevents dispensary owners from benefiting from any immunity from prosecution under the Medical Marihuana Act.

The only way to avoid prosecution if you’re a dispensary operator is to ensure that you are a licensed caregiver with not more than five patients. Following this rule, however, would severely limit the scope of your business.

And if you’re a patient, the only way you can obtain your medicine is by growing it or purchasing it from a registered caregiver who is in compliance with the five patient rule.

Michigan Lawmakers Are Pushing Patients Towards the Black Market

It’s likely that most dispensaries in Michigan will begin scaling back their businesses in the wake of this unfavorable court ruling. It’s unprofitable for caregivers to comply with the five patient rule, so it may be difficult for patients to gain access to their treatment—unless they grow it themselves. Another option for patients is to resort to buying their medicine on the black market.

Michigan lawmakers are considering legislation that would completely overhaul the state’s medical marijuana system, but critics of the legislation claim that it gives patients even more reason to resort to the black market. Indeed, the new framework for medical marijuana would raise the costs and barriers to entry for dispensaries, so it’s likely that legal marijuana would remain much costlier than black market marijuana.

There’s a movement to decriminalize marijuana across the state, which if successful would remove the need for lawmakers to create a workable medical marijuana system. The proposed measure has yet to receive enough signatures to get on the November ballot.

How a Detroit Drug Defense Lawyer Can Help You

At Davis Law Group, we are dedicated to defending the rights of medical marijuana patients and caregivers. To give our clients the best chances possible when they confront the criminal justice system, we follow closely any changes to Michigan’s medical marijuana landscape. If you need a Detroit drug defense lawyer, call us today at (313) 818-3238 and we’ll give you a free and confidential consultation of your case.

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