If there’s one thing that you can guarantee will keep changing in Michigan (besides the weather, that is!) it’s medical marijuana law. Ever since the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes was made legal here in the Mitten State, it’s been a bumpy ride, as legislators and law enforcement work to change, update and interpret the law. So what’s the latest development? Well, it looks like the dispensaries may be forced to close. Again.
Certain members of the Medical Marijuana Licensing Board say that dispensaries are actually illegal under current state law. The result? They want to see every dispensary in the state closed by this September 15th. At a recent meeting, retired Michigan State Police trooper Donald Bailey pointed out that, if the Board gets their way, certain dispensaries would be allowed to continue doing business under a law that was passed in 2016. That law regulates the medical marijuana industry in Michigan. But every one else would have to close their doors.
According to Bailey, the process has already begun. Over 100 dispensaries in Detroit have already been forced to shut down so far this year, with more on the horizon. But what’s the logic behind this sudden push? Bailey says that the Board’s decision is motivated by a 2013 Michigan Supreme Court ruling, which determined that dispensaries are illegal under state law. “Every dispensary that’s out there right now is open in violation of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.”
So what happens to the dispensaries that choose to defy the order and stay open for business? According to Bailey they risk being unable to get licenses that will allow them to operate legally under the new laws that will go into effect by December 15, 2017. In the end, the Board didn’t have enough votes to pass the motion, although they pointed out that this may have been the result of one board member being absent for the meeting. However, they plan to meet again before September 15th to discuss the proposal further and attempt a second vote.
But is everyone supporting this position, or do some people disagree?
Not everyone is on the same page about this issue, though. While members of the Medical Marijuana Licensing Board are pushing for closure of all dispensaries, many members of the public are pushing back. Several Board meetings were attended by members of the public, primarily patients, who want to know where they will get their medicine when all the dispensaries are shut.
Although the closure of marijuana dispensaries won’t affect licensed caregivers, and won’t strip patients of their rights to access medical marijuana, it will make it much harder for them to get what they need. Numerous patients with painful, and even some terminal illnesses, spoke at Board meetings, asking what they were expected to do if they could no longer access the meds they relied on. The were few answers available.
The Board asked the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), where the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation is housed, for input before they made a final decision. According to Jason Moon, a spokesperson for LARA, if the proposal passed LARA would review it. “The Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation will thoroughly review the recommendations and discussion from the board, and consult with the Attorney General’s office before any action is taken.”
Weed still remains illegal under federal law. But Michigan law is a fluid and ever-changing thing. Just because something is legal today here in Michigan, doesn’t mean it will be legal next week. So we would like to take this opportunity to remind our readers that before taking any action that may have legal ramifications, please come and discuss your options with us. If however, you’re already in a situation where your choices or actions have led you into a legal bind, call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. We are here to help you.