Michigan's law enforcement authorities have been determined to undo the will of voters who overwhelmingly approved a 2008 ballot initiative legalizing medical marijuana. They've looked for every which way to stop patients from accessing marijuana. For example, the law allows patients to possess 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana. However, they've been arresting patients for possessing raw marijuana over that amount, even though it loses 80 percent of its weight once it is processed and dried. And today they took a giant stride forward in achieving their end as numerous medical marijuana dispensaries around the state shut their doors following an appellate court ruling Tuesday.
The court ruled that although the initiative protected the right of registered patients to use "marihuana" (the way the law chose to spell the word), it didn't explicitly authorize the dispensaries. This presumably leaves patients the option of growing and processing their own "marihuana." But won't they need to buy seeds to do so from—err—dispensaries or some commercial source?
There is no doubt that the Michigan law was poorly written (partly to steer clear of the federal ban on marijuana), and has become something of a hornet's nest for patients and communities. Patients are planning to appeal the ruling to the Michigan Supreme Court. And there are plans afoot to clean up the law in the fall legislative session.
However, where there is a will there is a way. Many communities and authorities—including the state's Republican Attorney General Bill Scheutte—are so implacably opposed to allowing dispensaries in their midst that they will leave no stoner unturned for loopholes to exploit. Scheutte, for example, has gone after registered patients who engage in the collective growing or sharing of marijuana plants on cooperative marijuana farms. Why? Because the law, he believes, requires each patient's plants to be grown and maintained in a "separate" enclosed, locked facility that is only accessible to the registered patient or the patient's registered primary caregiver.
This is just, plain hazing—and he didn't even have to toke up to do it.