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Ambiguity of Medical Marijuana Causes Issues for Michigan Cannabis Businesses

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2018 | Drug Charge, Firm News, Legal Blog

Medical marijuana is used as a treatment for certain medical issues, including muscle spasms, seizures, and certain chronic illnesses. It is meant to help patients, not harm the community. Some Michigan officials, however, treat it as if it’s an illegal drug. In 2008, voters approved a vague referendum that left many wondering the legalities surrounding the use and sale of medicinal cannabis.

The ambiguity surrounding the legality of medical marijuana persists in Michigan, and many patients, growers, and dispensaries find themselves in trouble with law enforcement officials who consider the treatment as if it were a public safety issue.

If you are a medicinal pot user, grower, distributor, or seller and have been charged by the police for your involvement with medical marijuana, contact a Lansing medical marijuana lawyer from DeBruin Law at (517) 324-4303 to schedule a free case consultation.

Medical Marijuana Patient Regulations

In order to legally use medical marijuana in Michigan, it’s important to know about the different roles one could have in this growing field.

To lawfully use medical marijuana in Michigan, you must be diagnosed by a physician as a “qualifying patient”, meaning you have an incapacitating condition that necessitates the use of cannabis as a medicinal treatment. As a qualifying patient, you are permitted to:

  • Possess marijuana seeds, unusable roots, or stalks
  • Carry up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana on your person

As a card-carrying medicinal marijuana user, you are also afforded certain rights, including:

  • Not being arrested for possession the lawful amount of marijuana
  • No denial of your child custody/visitation without reasonable danger towards the child
  • No denial of the opportunity to obtain professional licenses

Understanding a Caregiver’s Role With Medical Marijuana Patients

Primary caregivers are individuals who assist medical marijuana patients with their treatments. In order to be a caregiver, you must be 21 years old, have no felony assault or drug crime convictions on your record, and have no felony convictions within the past 10 years.

Caregivers may assist with the following issues medical marijuana patients face:

  • Administration
  • Possession
  • Delivery
  • Transportation
  • Acquisition
  • Cultivation
  • Manufacturing

As a caregiver, you’re afforded the same rights as a patient who uses medical marijuana. Additionally, you are permitted to grow medicinal cannabis for up to five patients.

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Michigan

Michigan currently does not permit medical marijuana dispensaries to lawfully conduct business as if they were any other organization. Dispensaries caught selling marijuana could be charged with a delivery crime, which is considered a felony, if caught. At its most serious, this offense brings with it up to 15 years in prison and a large fine.

Laws Pertaining to Medical Marijuana in Michigan

In September 2016, Michigan Legislature passed a series of bills that overhauled the medical marijuana program in the state. House Bills (HB) 4209, 4827, and 4210 lay out a plan that regulates licensing and other aspects of medical cannabis in Michigan.

  • HB 4209- This bill details the regulations medical marijuana growers, processors, provisioning centers, secure transporters, and safety compliance facilities must comply with. It also permits for towns and cities to impose license fees, stipulates that any marijuana-related activity can be looked into by the police, and prohibits the transfer of licenses without approval from the Marijuana Licensing Board.
  • HB 4827- This statute establishes a tracking system for medical marijuana in the state that will aid in the verification of ID cards, record marijuana sales, and determine if a sale exceeded legal limits. It also requires this tracking system to be available to law enforcement, those that hold licenses, and state officials.
  • HB 4210- This bill permits edible marijuana products for card-carrying patients. It allows those with registry ID cards to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and marijuana equivalents, edibles included. HB 4210 also establishes a fine for any patient or caregiver that violates this bill’s provisions.

Issues Medical Cannabis Businesses Currently Face

Late last year the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs announced that dispensaries would have to shut down until the Medical Marijuana Licensing Board began accepting applications for licenses in December of 2017. This posed an issue for dispensaries that were operating with permission from their local municipalities at the time, and for patients who use medical marijuana to treat their conditions.

Dispensaries that have been operating for years have been raided and shut down by local and state law enforcement officials. Chad Morrow, a Michigan resident and former dispensary owner, faces criminal charges for operating his business despite having permission from the Gaylord Planning Commission and City Council. His dispensary was raided several times in 2016, and he now faces several years in prison.

With law enforcement cracking down on dispensaries in a way that doesn’t show a pattern, many business owners face the choice of shutting down before legal action is taken against them or serving their patients while violating Michigan law.

As the possibility of all dispensaries shutting down looms closer, many communities are fearing that they will no longer have easy access to medical marijuana. No one should have to fear that their necessary medical treatments won’t be available to them, so if you’re facing charges for operating a dispensary or for carrying too much product as a caregiver, contact a Lansing medical marijuana attorney immediately.

Contact a Lansing Medical Marijuana Lawyer for Help

Medical marijuana is meant to help patients suffering from debilitating conditions, not harm the community. Those who use medicinal cannabis, their caregivers, and the dispensaries that distribute medical marijuana are not criminals. They are all working towards the common goal of ensuring that those suffering from seizures, Glaucoma, Chon’s disease, and more have alternative medical options.

If you’re facing criminal charges related to medical marijuana, call attorney Tiffany DeBruin today. She will provide a compassionate defense on your behalf and will fight vigorously to ensure that your rights are protected.

Contact DeBruin Law today at (517) 324-4303 to schedule a free initial case consultation.

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