Since various municipalities made significant changes in their marijuana policies at the close of 2012, marijuana has been at the top of the headlines. It seems each week, there is another newsworthy story covering the new laws, their application (or lack of) or even the older medical marijuana laws. All of these stories are important, particularly if you live in Detroit or any of the other cities who have changed their approach, or if you are a medical marijuana user hoping to avoid persecution for your medication.
Here are a few of the recent headlines of note:
MI Supreme Court Rules Towns Can Shutter Dispensaries
The state’s high court backed an appeals court decision that allowed Mt. pleasant to shut down a medical marijuana dispensary on the basis of it being a “public nuisance”. Some dispensaries voluntarily shut their doors in response, but others aren’t convinced the ruling has to affect them and will remain open until told otherwise.
It’s because the state’s medical marijuana laws don’t address patient-to-patient marijuana sales, as the dispensary in question was operating under. Attorney General Bill Schuette has given prosecutors across the state the green light for shutting down the shops, but this isn’t likely the last we’ll hear of this.
Registered Medical Marijuana Users on the Rise
Counties across the state, but particularly in Southwest Michigan, are seeing a dramatic increase in the number of cardholding medical marijuana users. According to MLive.com, statewide numbers rose from 119,533 at the close of FY 2011 to 124,175 at the close of FY 2012. In some counties the increase was more dramatic—56% in Cass County, 49% in Branch County, and 39% in Van Buren County.
It’s believed part of the increase is due to the declining stigma. People are now seeing marijuana as a more acceptable form of medical treatment.
Sharing Medical Marijuana is Not a Crime
The state appeals court ruled there is nothing illegal about one registered medical marijuana patient sharing a little pot with another registered medical marijuana patient. The ruling came after one patient gave his friend (another patient) less than 2.5 ounces of pot. No cash or anything else traded hands.
Proposed Law Would Legalize Dispensaries
Republican lawmaker Rep. Mike Callton is working to introduce a bill that would allow dispensaries in local governments that authorizes it. Right now, he says, caretakers are the only way for patients to get medical pot and with 126,000, there aren’t enough caretakers to go around. He is hoping the recent state supreme court decision will push lawmakers to pass legislation that specifically addresses dispensaries.
Though marijuana laws and municipal regulations seem constantly changing in the state, you still run the risk of being arrested on a pot offense. When this happens, you need a local criminal defense lawyer on your side. Contact our offices today to discuss your case and the legal options available to you.