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Medical marijuana legal, dispensaries illegal

Local judges and law enforcement officials find marijuana law complex

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Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 9:19 am | Updated: 3:22 pm, Tue Feb 5, 2013.

More than four years after it passed, the Medical Marihuana Act (MMA) is still shrouded in smoke. Holly police and the Oakland County Sheriffs Office recently raided Well Greens of Holly, the last medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland County.

Although the MMA allows licensed cardholders to carry a limited amount of marijuana, dispensaries are currently ruled illegal.

In 2011, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled dispensaries are illegal and not covered by the MMA. That case, which involved a dispensary in Mount Pleasant, was appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court and was heard this past October. And, despite being three months later, the Michigan Supreme Court has not released its official ruling.

Waiting on the court’s official ruling has put municipalities in an odd predicament. The Village of Holly currently has an ordinance allowing medical marijuana dispensaries. However, under the current court rulings, dispensaries remain illegal.

  “Well Greens had actually come before the council and zoning and did all their work before the state decision,” said Jason Hughes, council president for the Village of Holly. “The owner had been advised that, at the current time, dispensaries were considered illegal. I feel it was unfortunate that he was provided that knowledge and was apparently operating anyway.”

 The cities of Fenton and Linden currently have moratoriums for dispensaries and are awaiting the release of the official ruling from the higher courts. Trustees in Tyrone Township discussed drawing up a ‘living document’ at a Jan. 10 meeting.

 While municipalities are hesitating to take action on dispensaries, most law-enforcement departments in the tri-county area said they are not arresting medical marijuana patients who have the proper identification and legal amount of marijuana.

  “If you’re compliant, we take no action and the incident is not recorded,” said Interim Holly Police Chief Michael Story. Story added that marijuana is still deemed illegal by the Federal government and that Holly officers act accordingly. “This act has more holes in it than it should.”

Fenton Police Chief Rick Aro said Fenton officers only arrest medical marijuana patients if they have more than the legal amount of marijuana plants allowed. Of the marijuana the Fenton police department has encountered, Aro said most users have their medical marijuana card.

Those who are caught with an illegal amount of marijuana or do not have their card could be arrested and charged with a 93-day misdemeanor, as well as a $500 fine.

In Linden, city attorney Charles McKone has advised police officers to arrest anyone with marijuana, regardless if they have a card. “If we just believe every card we saw, we wouldn’t arrest anyone,” McKone told the Linden City Council at a 2011 meeting.

Judge Mark McCabe of Genesee County’s 67th District Court in Fenton said he has not dealt with a medical marijuana cardholder who was arrested but still acting within their legal rights.

  “A medical marijuana card can be an absolute defense, if all the requirements are met,” McCabe said.

 Judge Kelley Kostin of the 52-2 District Court in Clarkston, Oakland County, whose jurisdiction includes Holly, said patients not following the parameters set in the MMA could potentially be breaking other laws, including Federal ones.

  “(Card holders) are only allowed two ounces of marijuana for personal use,” said Kostin. In a recent case involving marijuana, Kostin said, “This person was accused of having a grow room and multiple pounds of marijuana with intent to deliver. That was clearly, based upon evidence, and was probably cause to bind the matter over. The marijuana involved was clear more than what the person was entitled to have.”

Rights of a card holder, according to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act

To obtain or renew a medical marijuana card, a patient must pay $100 and have written approval from a physician. A card holder is allowed to posses 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana. If a card holder does not have a specified primary caregiver, he or she is allowed to have 12 marijuana plants in an enclosed, lock facility. A qualified card holder shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege.



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  • geovs posted at 10:53 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    geovs Posts: 1

    Clearly the leaders, do not hear us, or they really are not representing we the people, they are clearly representing, there beliefs, there way of life, and im fed up with it. For the last four years we have watched as they systematically destroyed this law. DESTROYED, nolonger is the the MMMA, it is the lawmakers and judges act. A sad depiction of democracy, the people of this state enacted a law, that means lawmakers should really stay away, but these wackos are heII bent on peeing all over the Michigan democratic policys, you think they might pay attention to the will of the people. I have a list of all the judges and lawmakers going aganst the will of Michiganders, I will be sending it out to all Michigan residents, its time we put these vigilantees in there place!

  • anonymous posted at 9:08 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    anonymous Posts: 4398

    It is unfortunate that an activist government in Oakland county could so warp the law and the will of the people. In all things the people's voice should ring supreme but in some areas of the state you would think that we are in the old south. That nonconformance to the will of the elite places an individual in the path of the awesome power of the state. It is extremely sad that innocent people must live in fear of their government. That was not what was intended when the ink was struck upon paper in 1787 when the constitution was adopted.
    This is not the first time that Oakland county has used brutal force against the sick. It will not be the last. They take huge license in saying that dispensaries are illegal under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act. They are clearly not illegal. In fact the word dispensary does not appear even once in the act. Laws against something, in fact declaring an activity to be illegal, do not magically appear in law. They are written and enacted by the legislature or the people. Not sheriffs, individuals, government officials, rouge politicians and/or land barons. If they wish dispensaries to be illegal use the process defined under the constitution to make that activity illegal not force of arms and property forfeiture.
    A simple reading of the act as instructed by the Supreme Court reveals that all types of transactions are permitted under the act as long as it is between a qualifying patient and a caregiver registered or not that are compliant with the terms defined within the act. The only question that remains is can that transaction occur in a building. The correct response is of course they can. No other conclusion can be reached and still be compliant to the will of the people. The people did not want the sick that have been enrolled in this program to be aggressively attacked by agenda driven tyrants regardless of their stripes. It is time that the peoples will be implemented and sensible people determine the course. Those that have used this people’s initiative in a perverse manner should be excluded from future discussions on this matter and their current activity curtailed. This is the United States of America. Honor the Constitution or stand down. Thanks, Joe Cain

  • anonymous posted at 12:22 pm on Thu, Jan 31, 2013.

    anonymous Posts: 4398

    Charles McKone, if I handed you my driver's license, would you arrest me for driving without a license because it might be a fake? Come on, have you ever seen one of these cards? It is issued by the State and has many security features including a hologram. Why don't you follow the law, AS VOTED ON by the people you "represent" or just resign already? And to the poster worried about Federal law: states are sovereign, and the people of this state voted MMJ in. You don't like it? Move out of Michigan,

  • Rick Thompson posted at 12:48 pm on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    Rick Thompson Posts: 0

    Where to begin... There are sooooo many things wrong with this story. We have a judge that doesn't know patients are allowed 2.5 ounces each, not just 2, and we have an attorney in Linden that says ignore the law and bust 'em all. Then we have an incorrect interpretation of law- dispensaries ARE NOT ILLEGAL, only one form of transfer has been ruled illegal- patient to patient for compensation- and just today, TODAY, the Court of Appeals legitimized other forms of marijuana transfer in the Green case. I've been writing about these cases for years and the article's author did not do his due dilligence to get the story right. Next time, call a recognized expert and get a quote from the other point of view. As a Genesee County resident I am disgusted.

  • kloo39 posted at 12:37 pm on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    kloo39 Posts: 0

    So we voted to legalize it for people in need but the people who need it the most have no where to purchase it,does that sound like what you voted for?

  • anonymous posted at 11:59 am on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    anonymous Posts: 4398

    Medical marijuna laws are nothin but traps set by the goverment to steal money and propertys from the People

  • anonymous posted at 11:57 am on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    anonymous Posts: 4398

    since when do police take orders from lawyers? talk about corruption! of course he wants everyone arrested. it fattens his pockets. charles mckone should be arrested for corruption and disbarred.

  • anonymous posted at 10:42 am on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    anonymous Posts: 4398

    Dispensaries are illegal here in WA state, that's why we have Collective Gardens and Patient Access Points. If they use word magic against us, we can certainly use it back!

  • anonymous posted at 10:40 am on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    anonymous Posts: 4398

    Just reclassify pot to the same category as oxycodone. Totally controlled, medicinally useful, and federally legal.

  • anonymous posted at 10:27 am on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    anonymous Posts: 4398

    If I was to break a Federal Law I would be arrested. I have no idea why our Government allows them to stay open and make millions. Very sad times we live in....

  • anonymous posted at 9:48 am on Wed, Jan 30, 2013.

    anonymous Posts: 4398

    this is obviously ridiculously stupid. the government. running around with their pants down.


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