Marijuana

Michigan Appeals Court Rules That Selling Marijuana Is Illegal

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What are we going to do with all these goddamn signs?

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled earlier today that a 2008 state law legalizing the use of medical marijuana does not cover the sale of the drug:

In an opinion released this morning, the panel said a Mount Pleasant dispensary, Compassionate Apothecary, could be shut down because it sells the drug to members who are registered with the state to use or provide marijuana.

Specifically, the "medical use of marijuana, as defined by the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, does not include patient-to-patient sales of marijuana, and no other provision of the MMMA can be read to permit such sales," the court ruled. "Therefore, defendants have no authority to actively engage in and carry out the selling of marijuana between (apothecary) members.

By enjoining the Mount Pleasant store from further operations, the ruling would appear to give prosecutors and law enforcement the authority to shut them down. The decision is expected to be appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court, which has a solid conservative majority.

The appeals panel, Judges Joel Hoekstra, Christopher Murray and Cynthia Diane Stephens, said an Isabella County trial judge erred in an earlier ruling by saying that the dispensary operators do not "possess" the marijuana, but merely facilitate its storage in lockers rented by members.

The law allows a "caregiver" to grow up to 72 plants for himself and five other patients. The court ruled dispensary operators indeed have possession of the drug and in amounts far in excess of what the law allows.

Moreover, the court ruled, "the evidence established that in the first two and half months of operating (the dispensary), defendants sold 19 pounds" of marijuana to members.

Greg Beato noted back in 2007 the various problems posed by "designated caregiver" language in California's medical marijuana law. 

Photo by Chuck Coker

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  1. so the perscription-holder may only grow on their property?…and may only consume that self-grown weed?…and may only gift, not sell, self-grown weed to other perscription-holders?

    1. My understanding is that this only applies to dispensaries that collect from individual patients or “compassionate caregiver” growers. There are still caregivers licensed to grow for small numbers of patients operating under very strict limits. My uncle is one, a non-pot-smoker helping out a family friend whose legs got shattered a few years ago. Even though the grow operation is his favorite stick-it-to-the-man endeavor, he’s been very wary of getting into the dispensary community because of the murky legal issues. “Somebody wants to be that test case, but it’s not me,” he’s told me.

      He’s also been (on somebody’s advice) keeping careful financial records to show he’s not selling the pot outright. He can still be compensated for his time, IIRC. Yeah, the distinction makes no sense.

      I live just a bit north of Saginaw and the percentage of new businesses that are pot-related in some way is pretty astonishing. There are at least 3 or 4 hydroponics supply places within 10 miles of my home. When other businesses are going under left and right, these guys seem to be thriving. I hope they can stick around.

    2. Re: Double Asshole,

      That is how your beloved State works: In “mysterious” ways.

  2. Dr. Doctor: Well Mr. Marsh, it looks like you are in prefect health. Your bloodwork came back great and all your vitals appear normal.

    Randy: All right!

    Dr. Doctor: Yep, you check out fine.

    Randy: That’s great. So can I get a referral from you?

    Dr. Doctor: For what?

    Randy: Medicinal marijuana. [the doctor frowns; Randy continues] There’s a shop that opened in the old KFC, and they said I needed a doctor’s referral to buy weed.

    Dr. Doctor: Mr. Marsh, you don’t qualify for medicinal marijuana.

    Randy: But you said I’m totally healthy!

    Dr. Doctor: Medicinal marijuana is for people who aren’t healthy. AIDS patients, cancer patients. You know, people going through chemo. The THC helps them eat and take the pain. YOU are in fine shape!

    Randy: …Well that sucks! [gets off the bed and puts his clothes back on] Well so doctor, how do most people get cancer?

    Dr. Doctor: Well there’s a lot of ways you can get cancer.

    Randy: Yeah, but what’s the quickest way?

    Dr. Doctor: The what –?

    Randy: Well like, what forms of cancer induce in time for the Ziggy Marley concert next Saturday in Denver?

    1. I hear in Boulder the dispensaries have doctors on site who will give you a pass if you complain of a headache.

      1. Yep, and as predicted, it’s beginning to come under scrutiny from regulators.

        Remember, medical marijuana is medicine.

        1. yea, that too.

          it really is shocking how fucking bad the legislators are.

          they will use undefined terms all the time , etc.

          programmers would write good law imo because computers REQUIRE that you define your variables well, etc. (usually) for the shit to even run in the first place

          1. us highly trained LEOs don’t have enough sense to not enforce bad laws. mindless automatons for the win!

            1. clearly, i am getting to you if you have to spoof troll me.

              iow, you have no ARGUMENT, just rubbish

              sad. and childish. sounds like cheeseburger

              1. interesting take on programmers writing laws.

                1. thx. also from a debugging aspect. debugging software trains you to look for holes in software, just like legislators SHOULD look for holes in the laws BEFORE they pass them

                  it teaches a certain structured way of thinking that is really appropriate for law imnsho

                  1. As a former software engineer, I take issue with this. It’s not a good idea, because if programmers write laws, the people (customer) will get exactly what they ask for.

                    1. lol. nice. WIN!

              2. I would love to eat a hamburger with your wife, Morgan Fairchild.

                1. That’s Mister Herman. Mister P. W. Herman.

              3. Why are you arguing with yourself?

  3. This is how the government creates jobs.

    1. well that & stim money babieeee!

  4. How is 72 plants less than 19 pounds? Any grower worth his salt can produce 1/2 pound yield per plant. Also I’m pretty sure that more than one patient would have been growing and that there were more than 5 customers.

  5. So why go through all the trouble of drafting and passing a medical marijuana bill if you write it in such a way as to make it effectively impossible for patients to get their hands on it anyway?

    1. You’re beginning to understand government. You now move to level 2.

    2. because legislators are notoriously piss poor at writing laws.

      shocker, i know

      our medical MJ law is so convoluted and there are so many untested undefined aspects, NOBODY knows exactly what proper “proof” is for medical mj etc.

      our dept. came out with a proactive policy that basically says – if it LOOKS like it might be kosher, assume it is.

      but medical mj laws are poorly written AND hard to write because they address an exception to the preexisting laws that were never conceived of.

      it’s like when windows was just a dos add-on and you had to do all this page flipping etc. of extended memory etc. to get it to work right, with different batch files and everything

      it was a kludge

      1. because legislators are notoriously piss poor at writing laws.

        Unfortunately, so are the crafters of citizen initiatives. Which is where many of these marijuana laws are coming from. Although I can’t speak for the law specified in this post.

        1. yea, that too.

          it really is shocking how fucking bad the legislators are.

          they will use undefined terms all the time , etc.

          programmers would write good law imo because computers REQUIRE that you define your variables well, etc. (usually) for the shit to even run in the first place

        2. The Michigan law was passed by referendum and drafted by non-lawmakers. The state legislature was (is) foaming at the mouth about it.

          1. Looks like the legislature’s getting the last laugh…

        3. Consider the considerable chance that the referendum would not have passed if it did not have this loophole.

    3. The people drafting the law were likely doing it on the emotional appeal of helping suffering patients and did not realize they left a loophole big enough to let the moon through.

      1. Or they intended the loophole to be there. I would prefer real legalization, but the backdoor legalization provided by many states’ MMJ laws is a step in the right direction.

        1. If they intended the loophole to be there, then they were dishonest or insane. Why would you want an ill person buying a supposedly medicinal product from an illicit source?

          1. It’s not that you want them to buy it from an illicit source, it’s just that you want them not to be punished for doing so or have their medicine taken away, and you don’t believe the voters will allow more licit sources to be established.

            Reform is like that. You hardly ever get all you want, but you’re glad to get some of it instead of none.

    4. The main idea the med mj laws passed starting in the 1990s had in common was that patients could possess as much as they needed, legally. There’s usually no law against buying marijuana, only against selling it, so the idea was that in a sale the patient would not be legally liable, because nobody wants to prosecute sick people, only the people who serve them.

      The various laws provided various add’l ways patients could obtain marijuana, but they all agreed that righ off the bat the patients could buy from illegal sellers and be off the hook themselves.

      But you’ll notice from the article near the end that one proposed Mich. reform would abrogate that, and make it so patients could possess pot only if it was obtained from a legal source. That’d really suck.

  6. There are a dozen ways to get around this.
    It is sad indeed that “justices,” from the bench, attempt to nullify a law that nullified a prior law, or in this case, actually increased personal freedom. What the hell are these people afraid of? That sick people might actually have some relief?

    1. I hate to admit it, but according to Michigan law, it is illegal to sell Marijuana, and the appeals court got it right.

      The MMMA only authorizes you to grow your own, or to grow on behalf of (but not sell to) up to 5 other people that can’t grow it themselves. I wish pot was legal here, but it isn’t. And according to the law as written, the appeals court reached the correct conclusion.

  7. What the hell are these people afraid of?

    The darkies, getting all hopped up and playing jazz and banging their daughters, would be my guess.

      1. “PRESENT!”

    1. I thought the darkies got coked up, and it was the spics that smoked weed.

      1. … and, meanwhile: all WE get is frickin’ tentacle porn.

        1. We get Snooki…

  8. This is what happens when an individual “partners” with the state and makes a deal to accept partial payment for what is already rightfully his.

  9. I wonder why we hear little GOP pussies and catamites calling for “states rights.”

    It is states and cities who will strip you of your commercial and civil rights.

    If you want to practice law, who will stop you? Medicine? Barbering?

    Open a liquor store?

    Open a speakeasy?

    Distribute liquor?

    Build a high-rise on your own property?

    Drive a jitney?

    Push a food push-cart? Food truck?

    Who wanted to stop you from voting if you were the wrong shade, or marrying someone of a different race? Who will take away your driver’s licence?

    State and local government are usually corrupt cesspools of cronyism, operated by feckless poltroons. The jackanapes and popinjays calling for “state’s rights” are just mouthpieces for local martinets who want to control everything, including business competition or what your front yard looks like.

    Reason Fagazine will be there for you!

    1. D-. The homophobia was a good, obnoxious touch, but overall, just too fucking obvious. The most prolific troll gets banned, but no one better is stepping up to the plate.

      1. Well, I did like the curious juxtaposition of “pussies” and “catamites.” Also, “corrupt cesspools of cronyism” deserves some small recognition.

      2. “Homophobia”? What?

    2. Poor trolling attempt. However, this hits enough points in the drinking game that people may be too drunk to notice that it’s trolling.

      1. I’m not drunk. What did that say about me?

        1. That you’re behind the curve?

          1. I so wish I were behind the curves.

    3. I like the fact that you used the word poltroon. Other than that…just get some more practice at this, OK?

      1. I disagree with the guy, but I appreciate his usage of osbcure disparaging terms.

        Some states are guilty on many infringements against their citizens. It is the onus of the citizens of those states to change that. I don’t care a lot for their local predicaments. Citizens of some states would undeniably be freer if they only had state laws to follow, and the feds stepped aside.

        1. Wow. Thick as a brick.
          The point being, when you make a deal with the devil [hint: THE GOVERNMENT] the devil always wins. Look around. How do you think we got here?

    4. Taking the chance that I’m wading into the cesspool of trollism, it was precisely Matt Welch who declared, some years ago, that the one place where libertarianism must take root is at the state and local level because “State and local government are usually corrupt cesspools of cronyism, operated by feckless poltroons”. I looked for the original post, but I couldn’t find it. So I’ll flip this one out.

      Oh, and Welcome to Reason!

      Perhaps you might enjoy Reason’s coverage just this morning on property rights, land use issues, marijuana legalization and rogue lemonade stands. Check the archives for posts on food trucks, filming the cops and other sundry local issues important to libertarians.

      https://reason.com/blog/2005/06…..phere-reac

    5. I think our trolls are actually devolving.

      1. Either that or like Showgirls, they’re so bad, they’re good.

        1. Mystery Science Trolling 3000

          1. HAH! Great minds, etc.!

            1. “We’ll send them grade D trollers, the worst we can find, lalala”!

              1. Tony = “Mikey Walton” (Teenage Strangler)
                MNG = “Henry Krasker” (The Dead Talk Back)
                00 = “Torgo” (Manos: The Hands of Fate)

                Any other nominees…?

                1. I need some MST3K whackjob — either someone suitably Eco-Fetishistic, or else a gibbering “back to nature”/noble savage-y loon — for White Indian, but nothing’s springing to mind? Anyone…?

                  1. I don’t know, but we could probably arrange a good railing death for him.

                  2. Every time I see some of these trolls post, it’s DEEEEEP HUUURRTING!

                    1. Hah! GOT it! White Indian is —

                      [::drumroll::]

                      … surly, fur-clad, club-wielding EEGAH!!!

                    2. I think of Tony, bless him, as Rowsdower’s sidekick in “The Final Sacrifice”.

                    3. Rowsdower, dowsdower, bippity-boppity bowsdower!

                    4. “Was dad like me?”
                      “No, he was masculine and likable”

        2. Either that or like Showgirls, they’re so bad, they’re good.

          Easy way to test that theory. Get Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett over here, and see if they can riff ’em properly. 😉

    6. “The jackanapes and popinjays”

      Watch a lot of O’Rielly do ya?

      1. … CAN explain that.

  10. Note the “that which is not expressly permitted is forbidden” aspect to this.

    1. Except that it’s expressly forbidden to sell pot in Michigan. The MMMA didn’t change that.

  11. “”The appeals panel, Judges Joel Hoekstra, Christopher Murray and Cynthia Diane Stephens, said an Isabella County trial judge erred in an earlier ruling by saying that the dispensary operators do not “possess” the marijuana, but merely facilitate its storage in lockers rented by members.””

    So if kids have pot in their school lockers, can that school be shutdown?

    1. Yes. Since we can strip search a pre-teen girl due to an ibuprofen, surely you don’t believe that they can have other more potent forms of medicine in their lockers without reaping the consequences?

  12. Since we can strip search a pre-teen girl

    “PRESENT, GODDAMMIT! PRESENT — !!!

  13. State and local government are usually corrupt cesspools of cronyism, operated by feckless poltroons. The jackanapes and popinjays calling for “state’s rights” are just mouthpieces for local martinets who want to control everything, including business competition or what your front yard looks like.

    “Get back! I have a thesaurus, and I’m not afraid to use it!”

  14. The law allows a “caregiver” to grow up to 72 plants for himself and five other patients. The court ruled dispensary operators indeed have possession of the drug and in amounts far in excess of what the law allows.

    I don’t understand. Are the amounts far in excess of what 72 plants can give, or was it that the amounts came from some pretty bad-ass big plants and the prosecutors are simply making an assumption of how much can come from normal size plants?

  15. The court ruled dispensary operators indeed have possession of the drug and in amounts far in excess of what the law allows.

    “Just two good old boys/Never meanin’ no harm”

    I’m thinking a reboot of The Dukes of Hazzard as medical marijuana growers is in order. They just need to find a way to occasionally run the General Lee on hemp biomass as a plot device and they’re golden.

    1. “Well, ’bout this time, dem ol’ Duke Boys was so goldurned baked on half a pound of Jamaican Passion, they was takin’ turns gaddin’ about in an old pair of Daisy’s shorts and gigglin’ and eyelash-flutterin’ and I just don’t know what-all…!”

  16. Specifically, the “medical use of marijuana, as defined by the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, does not include patient-to-patient sales of marijuana, and no other provision of the MMMA can be read to permit such sales,” the court ruled. “Therefore, defendants have no authority to actively engage in and carry out the selling of marijuana between (apothecary) members.

    Call me a fan of outdated political theory, but shouldn’t the Court have at least cited what part of Michigan law specifically forbids this behavior? Were the legislators who wrote the law so careless as to neglect to repeal anti-sale provisions of the existing code or is the Court taking the position that citizens may do nothing that is not authorized by the law? They better hope there’s a law allowing production of cars or the federal government’s in trouble.

    1. There is a general prohibition on pot transfers in Mich., and this MMMA (written and passed by voters) was all about making exceptions to certain laws regarding pot, but not, apparently, regarding sales.

      1. OK, then. So, the writers of the law were not quite up to speed.

        1. You’re assuming they wanted to allow dispensaries but screwed up and got the wording wrong. I think you’re mistaken, and the voters (or at least the people who wrote the law) never intended to make selling pot to patients legal.

          1. People in this thread are treating this as some sort of goof or technical flaw or stupid unnecessary concession, rather than the political compromise it clearly was. IIRC, it passed 56%-44%, so it’s not like it was a pushover even with the provisions it had.

  17. This is yet another example of the complete and utter submissive nature of the American citizen. How is it that the citizens of Michigan have not advanced upon the state capitol with pitchforks in hand? What a filthy police state. May they all contract syphillis, covey it to their wives, and thereby infect their rotten spawn.

    1. The citizens of Mich. were the ones who voted for it. They would have to advance on each other with pitchforks.

  18. I am really disheartened with our state government right now. What kind of pieces of shit do we have in office. Thanks for eliminating a substantial amount of jobs in our state. 400-500 shops 2-3 employees per shop. 10-15 growers supplying those shops. I can’t refrain from stating the obvious. Our leaders are f^&%$^&$^%ng retarted. All of those jobs gone. Polotitions have lost all of my support.

  19. there just being a bunch of panzys collage educated faGs that dont like it but im sure they do some coke at home at night LMAO who has the right to judge anyone this is a civil liberty that was voted in by WE THE People not we the judges or we the government its about us not stupid politics or what other people think is right for us this is a free country my dad died for it .as far as im concerned all politicians judges we should hire private eyes to get all the dirt on them who knows maybe get some photos of them cheating on there wifes lmao come on like anyone is Innocent

    1. At least us “college educated fags” know how to spell and probably make more in one month than you do in a year.

  20. why dont they quit braking our Liberty’s
    wait everyone gets sick i hope the judges that made this decision gets as sick as i was so they can learn whats its like to be on your death bed .

  21. I’m college-educated, and I’m all about legalization. By the way, upyourass, you misspelled college, your punctuation is awful, and you need to work on your capitalization. People would take you more seriously if you didn’t write like a retard.

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