MI Supreme Court Strikes Down Activities At Some Medical Marijuana Businesses

Posted at 6:52 PM, Feb 08, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-08 19:03:00-05

The Michigan Supreme Court dealt another blow to some medical marijuana businesses that have popped up since the public vote nearly five years ago.

The court shot down practices happening at some compassion clubs in Michigan which allowed or facilitated qualified patients to meet and transfer the drugs to one another.

A business in Mount Pleasant called the Compassion Apothecary was shut down by county prosecutors.

When the court weighed in, it said closing the business was justified.

Prosecutors had called it a public nuisance.

A Norton Shores man who had his business shut down about two years ago said it’s bad news for patients.

“How can the judge ignore the law?”, said Paul Miller, Small Business Owner. “This is judicial activism at its worst.”

Miller once tried to open a medical marijuana business similar to the one shut down in Mount Pleasant.

“We’ve been closed as a dispensary since the city of Norton Shores sued me as a nuisance to the city about a year and a half ago,” said Miller.

He feels the latest decision is just another blow to legal businesses and patients who are obeying the law.

Miller says the law clearly states qualified patients are allowed to transfer marijuana to each other.

“Medical use means the acquisition, cultivation, manufacture, use, possession, delivery transfer or transportation of marijuana,” said Miller

The court case centered around two men who created the business in Mount Pleasant in order to allow qualified caregivers and patients to come together and exchange marijuana in some cases.

Patients would rent lockers from the businesses and when they had grown more marijuana than they needed it was available to other patients to buy in a locker.

Caregivers in turn would also rent lockers when they had grown more than they needed for their patients and that was available for sale too.

The Isabella County prosecuting attorney filed a complaint for a restraining order calling the business a public nuisance.

The state supreme court agreed with the prosecutor.

The judges said in a four to one opinion that it was O.K. to shut the business down.

They said the patient to patient transfer of marijuana is not allowed under the law.

One judge did dissent, saying if both patients are qualified they should have the right to transfer the drug with immunity under the law.

The state of Michigan keeps track of those who are legal users of medical marijuana.  It states that in Kent County in the 2012 fiscal year, there were more than 6,000 Patients listed in Kent County, in Ottawa County there were nearly 2,500, in Allegan, around 1,500 and in Barry and Ionia County around 900 for each.

Miller said patients will be affected because the compassion clubs were helping to create competition which lowered prices and provided more safe options for those who need help.

He said it’s also a safe place to go for medication should a patient’s plants die.

Miller said because the state supreme court has the final say, the next step is to take the issues to local legislators.

“We have 140,000 patients here in Michigan and that`s more than a lot of unions have so I could see the patients in Michigan being quite active in the near future,” said Miller.

Miller said he wants to form a Political Action Committee to raise money to support politicians who are in support of medical marijuana laws and protecting patient’s rights.