Michigan Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Lawyer
Michigan Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
Grand Rapids Michigan Medical Marijuana Lawyer
The Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (HB 4209).
Effective December 20, 2016, the Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act created an extensive, regulated medical marijuana growing, testing, processing, transporting, and dispensing system. State-licensed medical marijuana facilities (a/k/a dispensaries) are expressly authorized by this new legislation. The state has just under a year to implement the rules and regulations under which these marijuana dispensaries will be approved and authorized. The earliest that the state will begin to accept applications is December 2017. There will be an extensive regulatory system implemented (similar to the regulations on alcohol). Most of the terms and conditions have not even been written yet, as that job will fall on the shoulders of a newly created medical marijuana board. Right now there are more questions than answers. However, as rules and regulations become issued we will be prepared to help you through the lengthy application process.
You can read more about the new legislation at this link: 2016 Michigan Medical Marihuana Business Legislation
The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act Does Not Allow Traditional Dispensaries.
Unlike the newly minted Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act, the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act does not specifically authorize marijuana dispensaries. Instead, the model created by the MMMA was/is the patient – primary caregiver relationship, where a patient can either grow their own marijuana or they can designate a caregiver to do it for them. In sharp contrast, patients in other medical marijuana and recreational states allow marijuana to be transferred from grower to patient by means of a third party dispensary which operates like a traditional drug store. The dispensary concept has been repeatedly attempted and challenged in Michigan. Until the new state-licensed dispensaries begin operations in early 2018, dispensaries throughout the state have been raided and shuttered.
The official position of the state attorney general and court system is that a medical marijuana patient can obtain marijuana either by growing it themselves or by designating a caregiver to grow it for them. Any other transfers are considered to fall outside the scope and protection of the MMMA. Those dispensaries that are still in existence have remained open only because local law authorities have chosen to not take legal action against them.
The stated purpose of the MMMA is to allow seriously ill patients access to medical marijuana by providing protection from criminal prosecution under state law. A good argument can be made that allowing dispensaries furthers the stated goal of making medical cannabis available to a much broader range of patients. For example, a dispensary can provide medical cannabis to medical patients that are between grows or if their caregiver is unable to grow it for them (a common problem). A dispensary makes a lot of sense when you consider the fact that the MMMA does not allow a patient or caregiver to stockpile more than 2.5 ounces at at a time (and keep their immunity from prosecution). If a patient or caregiver has an abundant harvest, a narrow read of the MMMA requires that they destroy any amount above the 2.5 ounces permitted.
Marijuana Dispensaries and Court Decisions.
In February 2013 the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that medical marijuana dispensaries are NOT protected by Section 4 of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act. The case can be read here: State v McQueen. The Michigan Supreme Court ruled that the operators of a medical marijuana dispensary were not immune from prosecution, and that the dispensary could be closed as a "public nuisance." This decision only addressed the issue of immunity in the context of dispensaries, and did not discuss Section 8's medical purpose defense. Interestingly, the high court ruled the MMMA allows marijuana to be "sold." However, the decision did not describe how such a sale can lawfully occur.
Although all of the nuances of the MMMA have yet to be decided, as there are many cases that are working their way up the appellate ladder, the clear indication is that the legal system shuns marijuana dispensaries operating under the auspices of the MMMA. Despite the dubious legality of such dispensaries, there are still hundreds operating in counties where law enforcement and prosecutors have simply chosen to allow them to exist. Were those same dispensaries located in a different county, they would have been shut down long ago and the operators charged with marijuana felonies.
The Future of Marijuana Dispensaries in Michigan.
The Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act legislation will without doubt create and extensively regulate marijuana drug store type dispensaries. The cost of the new regulatory agency will be borne by the licensees and a special three percent tax on sales from medical marijuana dispensaries. As noted earlier, these dispensaries will not even be open for business until sometime in early 2018. The new marihuana facilities will only be able to purchase from state-licensed growers, and all product will have to be quality tested and THC levels disclosed. The new dispensaries will also be able to sell marijuana and THC infused lotions and products. The new dispensaries will not be allowed to sell other products such as tobacco or alcohol, nor will they be permitted to have smoking rooms.
Michigan Medical Marijuana Lawyer.
Michigan medical marijuana lawyer Bruce Alan Block of Grand Rapids, Michigan has spent considerable time reading and studying the Michigan medical marijuana laws. He stays up to date with legislative trends and court decisions. He is both knowledgeable and experienced. Our Michigan medical marijuana lawyer tries to provide guidance on the state medical marijuana laws. Whatever your situation, our Michigan medical marijuana lawyer can help you.
Call us at (616) 676-8770.
Bruce Alan Block, PLC
Attorney and Counselor at Law
1155 East Paris Ave. SE Suite 300, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Phone: (616) 676-8770
Serving Clients throughout Western Michigan, in Grand Rapids, Ada, East Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Cascade, Wyoming, Byron Center, Lowell, Caledonia, Rockford, Holland, Grand Haven, Grandville, Kent, Barry, Ottawa, Muskegon and Ionia County.
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DISCLAIMER: It is our hope that everyone will strictly adhere to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act's requirements. Please understand that the purpose of this webpage is strictly informational; nothing on this website or webpage is intended to suggest that you violate or attempt to violate any state or federal law. Remember, marijuana is still strictly illegal under federal law, and the penalties are severe. You are advised to seek your own personalized legal advice.