All it takes is one court decision to stop the medical marijuana trade in its tracks. At least that’s what Michigan is seeing this week after a ruling on Wednesday determined the Compassionate Apothecary in Mt. Pleasant was a public nuisance and needed to be closed. But this single ruling has dispensaries all over the state shutting down.
The state Court of Appeals ruled that the medical marijuana legislation passed by voters did not give businesses the legal right to sell marijuana, it only gave patients the right to use it, grow it, or receive it from a caregiver.
There are an estimated 400 to 500 dispensaries in the state, most of which have already shut down or are planning on it in coming days. This leaves about 100,000 registered medical marijuana patients wondering if they should invest in growing equipment or return to purchasing the drugs illegally on the street.
Attorney General Bill Schuette was against the medical marijuana legislation from the beginning and is unsurprisingly pleased with the court’s ruling. Despite the fact that voters approved the medical marijuana law, he states “Nobody voted to have pot shops across from schools and churches. The court of appeals unanimously cleared the air that these dispensaries, these pot shots—really drug houses—are not legal.”
Critics counter Schuette’s position stating that the dispensaries could potentially stay open if changes were made. The court failed to address whether or not patients can give pot to other patients. Because this hasn’t been clarified and hasn’t been explicitly outlawed, they claim dispensaries could charge for rolling papers, for instance, while giving away the actual marijuana.
Patients will be far more likely to return to the streets to purchase marijuana than grow it. Depending on how much you grow, your electric bill could skyrocket to $600 per month. Most will likely take the risk and purchase their pot like everyone else does, from marijuana dealers.
Could a medical marijuana patient be busted for buying pot? Legally, yes, though it’s not likely. Could a pot dealer be busted for selling to a registered medical marijuana patient? Absolutely. The medical marijuana law does not give free reign to pot dealers that cater to the registered patients, as this ruling by the Appeals Court showed.
So what does this mean to medical marijuana patients? They will have to obtain their pot on the black market and run the risk that anti-medical marijuana advocates may decide that prosecuting them for purchasing it in this way is a worthwhile cause.
Whether you are someone who thought you would help a friend in need out—selling or giving marijuana to a registered patient, or if you are a casual user of marijuana, you could face serious criminal charges for your actions. If you are accused of a marijuana offense, contact our offices today to discuss your case.