Michigan: The Semi Legality of Dispensaries

28 March 2016

The publication reports

Dispensary, compassion club, pot shop; they are all terms to describe a facility in which medical marijuana is sold to patients in Michigan under the 2008 Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, and they are illegal… kind of

The state Legislature is currently kicking around bills to update the 8-year old Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. Meanwhile, dispensaries around the state are left waiting to see if their legal status will change.
In 2013, the Michigan Supreme Court, in a case against a Mt. Pleasant dispensary, ruled medical marijuana dispensaries that handle patient-to-patient sales could be deemed a public nuisance and shut down.
Many were. Many weren’t. Some simply restructured.
Detroit has more than 200 dispensaries in operation. Ottawa County has at least one, Spring Lake Dispensary, and up until recently Allegan County had as many as six. It’s hard to get an accurate count, dispensaries are not licensed or tracked.
So how are they able to operate despite the state Supreme Court ruling?
For some, it’s just lack of enforcement.
Several law enforcement agencies, including those in Lansing, have opted to act based on complaints from cities as opposed to actively shutting dispensaries down.
But medical marijuana facilities are watched closely to assure they are acting in at least some accordance with the law.
Four dispensaries in Allegan County were recently raided by the West Michigan Enforcement Team, a narcotics unit, for a number of different reasons. Some had more usable marijuana than the law allows, some had edibles, which are illegal, as of now.
Mainly, the four dispensaries were selling medical marijuana to “anyone who came into the door with a paper or a card, regardless of if there was a patient/caregiver relationship,” said Lt. Andy Fias, who heads the WEMET narcotics team.
MMMA requires during registration that primary caregivers, who are allowed to cultivate up to 12 plants and have 2.5 ounces of processed marijuana for up to five patients each, to specify his or her patient list. If a patient is added or dropped, the registry must be updated.
The same is true for patients, who must register his or her caregiver, if there is one. They are not required to have a caregiver and are allowed to grow their own medical marijuana.
This registration process, which makes it so a single caregiver can only provide medical marijuana to five patients, makes it tough for dispensaries to legally operate, unless it has a large amount of caregivers associated with it.
Matthew Abel, attorney for the Cannabis Council, a proponent of medical marijuana, said the current system makes it hard not only for dispensaries, but ultimately for their patients.
“We’re sitting here doing nothing and patients are not getting what they need. The police are raiding people left and right,” he said. “It’s not easy to find a caregiver who will provide what you want at a price you can afford and in a reasonable quantity, and nearby. There are patients who only get supplied through dispensaries.”
Read Full Report at  http://www.hollandsentinel.com/article/20160327/NEWS/160329202

Michigan State Legislature





HB 4827 of 2015

House Bill

Marihuana; administration; seed-to-sale tracking system for commercial marihuana; establish. Creates new act. TIE BAR WITH: HB 4209’15

HB 4877 of 2015

House Bill

Controlled substances; marihuana; cultivation, processing, and sale of marihuana; decriminalize and regulate. Creates new act.

HB 5024 of 2015

House Bill

Crimes; intoxication or impairment; impaired driving safety commission; create. Creates & repeals new act.

SB 0813 of 2016

Senate Bill

Controlled substances; marihuana; legalization of marihuana; provide for and regulate. Creates new act. TIE BAR WITH: SJR O’16


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