Michigan Court of Appeals Rules Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Illegal In State of Michigan v. Compassionate Apothecary

In a case involving an Isabella County medical marijuana dispensary, the Michigan Court of Appeals determined that operating dispensaries are both a “public nuisance” and “illegal.” The Detroit Free Press reports that the Court of Appeals issued an opinion today providing that a Mount Pleasant dispensary – Compassionate Apothecary (CA) – could be shut down based on the fact that it sells marijuana to other apothecaries.

The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA) law is complex. If you are a registered medical marijuana user or distributor or have questions regarding how its provisions may affect you, its important to speak to a knowledgeable Michigan medical marijuana attorney.

Even though medical marijuana is legal, significant restrictions are placed on its use and distribution. Under the MMMA, the amount of pot registered users and licensed caregivers may grow treat medical condition is limited. If a person grows, possesses or distributes more than the allotted amount, they may face serious felony charges. Depending on the circumstances, if you are found in possession of marijuana you may be charged with drug possession, drug distribution or even drug trafficking despite the fact that the drugs were intended for your own medicinal purposes and even though you never planned to give them to anyone else.

If convicted, you may face prison time and fines. In some instances, you may even face a civil forfeiture – where the state may seize personal assets such as your car – if they believe if was purchased with the proceeds of your pot sales.

An aggressive Michigan drug crime attorney can fight to defend your rights and keep you out of jail and recover any property taken away by law enforcement.

Here, the dispensary allowed registered medical marijuana users and caregivers to sell to each other. The lower court determined that it was legal under the MMMA for patients to transfers pot from patient to patient. However, on appeal the court determined that no provision of the MMMA permits patient-to-patient sales of marijuana, and as a result, Compassionate Apothecary didn’t have the authority to sell pot to different apothecary members. The appeals court determined that the lower court had erred in finding that dispensaries merely “facilitate its storage.” Specifically, the court held that “medical use” of marijuana does not include selling it.

It is likely this decision will be appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court. The result of this decision is to leave patients who may legally obtain medical marijuana without a way to obtain it if they are unable to grow it themselves. As stated by a spokesperson supporting the apothecaries, “This is the opposite of what (Michigan Attorney General) Bill Shuette said he wanted to do, which is help patients. This a sad day for patients who are losing the support system voters created. It is being taken away by the sweep of a pen.”

Despite voter support for Michigan’s medical marijuana law, it faces strong objection from many lawmakers and local officials. In fact, Attorney General Shuette recently announced his plans to re-write the MMMA, clarifying the conditions under which a physician may prescribe the drugs and providing local communities more authority to regulate the location of marijuana apothecaries.

For more information about Michigan’s medical marijuana laws or if you have been charged with any drug offense, contact the dedicated Michigan criminal defense lawyers at Grabel & Associates, P.C. for an immediate response.