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A ruling was finally made by the Michigan State Supreme Court regarding patient to patient transfers of medical marijuana, and the 62% of the voters who passed the MMMA in 2008 aren’t going to be happy. The overall vote was 4-1 in favor of making these transfers illegal which also makes it illegal to sell through private establishments. This ruling essentially makes dispensaries and anything similar illegal under the State’s Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA) which was passed back in 2008. The only way to legally obtain your medical marijuana is to either grow it yourself as a registered cardholder or have it grown by a designated cardholder that is also licensed as a caregiver under state law. Patients cannot transfer medical marijuana between themselves. A large reason that dispensaries became a large target is that they were facilitating patient-patient transfers and this was not liked by Michigan lawmakers. There are approximately 125,000 cardholders in Michigan and only 20% also are licensed as a caregiver. Just based on these rough numbers alone, it’s easy to tell that this ruling will have a significant impact on the Michigan medical marijuana community. It’s clear that changes will be need to be made by some to conform to the new changes based on the interpretation of the 2008 MMMA Law by the Michigan Supreme Court.
I did some digging around to find out how the Judges voted on the decision and found this article by The Morning Sun and here’s the quote from Supreme Court Justice Michael F. Cavanagh, “Rather, I would hold that when a qualified patient transfers marijuana to another qualified patient, both individuals have the right to assert immunity,” Cavanagh said. “Furthermore, as a result of the majority’s erroneous interpretation of (part of the MMMA), the majority improperly concludes that any facilitation of the transfer of marijuana from patient to patient is unlawful and enjoinable as a nuisance.” Unfortunately, the other 4 justices didn’t see it this way at all. Their interpretation is that the MMMA doesn’t give protections to anybody except caregivers that are registered through the state program and their respective medical marijuana patients.
The original case involved a dispensary in Mt. Pleasant which was shut down or raided. More specifically, it involved a dispensary called the Compassionate Apothecary which was in Isabella County, MI. The dispensary itself facilitated patient to patient sales and they took a fee for arranging the transactions and transfers which was said to be near twenty percent. The case had been appealed all the way up the Supreme Court over the last few years.