Broad and somewhat vague medical marijuana laws in Michigan have citizens tiptoeing around what they believe is their right, and law enforcement officials scrambling to control what they see as a threat to law and order. Cities and towns are passing ordinances to control how medical marijuana is supposed to be regulated, leading to what many say is essentially ignoring the medical marijuana laws voters demanded.
Medical marijuana legislation was passed in Michigan in 2008. Since that time the laws have been interpreted in a variety of ways throughout the state, leading to no clear way of handling people who actually qualify for medical marijuana use, not to mention the growing and sale of legal marijuana by outside businesses.
Current laws, as written, allow someone who is a licensed medical marijuana patient to possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable pot and up to 12 plants. They can also have a registered caregiver grow the plants for them if they so elect. While a physician certifies the patient, stating they would get benefit from medicinal use of marijuana, the patient is responsible for registering with the state and regulating their dosages and own use.
Part of the problems is people making fraudulent identification cards and there being no checks and balances in place by dispensaries to verify the legitimacy of patients documentation. Two Oakland County dispensaries were recently raided for selling pot to undercover agents with fake id cards. As a result, Lansing has blocked further marijuana businesses until July, by which time they hope legislation and controls will be clarified at the state level and the local level.
The ACLU, however, has filed a few different lawsuits against municipalities that they say are essentially banning the use of medical marijuana, contrary to state law. As if things aren’t confusing enough between the state and local laws controlling medical marijuana, federal laws still ban the substance altogether.
Legislators are expected to clear up the laws this upcoming year. It will be none too soon for medical marijuana patients as well as police, judges, and all those who have had any interaction with the confusing jumble of interpretations and applications over the past few years.
In the meantime, however, those who are legally entitled to medical marijuana are suggested to keep a low profile. When the laws are unclear, running afoul of them is far too easy.
Likewise, although social acceptance of marijuana is perhaps at an all time high, recreational use without a prescription is still illegal and marijuana charges are still commonplace in Michigan courts. If you’re facing charges of possession or distribution of marijuana in Michigan—contact our offices today for a free consultation on your case.