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Michigan Supreme Court Rules Against Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

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The Michigan Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the state can shutter medical marijuana dispensaries under the guidelines provided by public nuisance laws, according to reports by the Detroit News and other media outlets. The ruling was released early Friday morning.

The judges also struck down the ability to transfer medical marijuana patient-to-patient in Michigan. The ability of a caregiver to sell medical marijuana to a patient, however, will remain legal in the state.

Here is some of the key information to emerge regarding this ruling by the Michigan Supreme Court on Friday.

* The Supreme Court ultimately decided that medical marijuana dispensaries, specifically those that conducted person-to-person sales, weren't covered by the law that established the legality of medical marijuana in the state in general.

* Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said, according to MLive and other media outlets on Friday that the court's ruling "empowers county prosecutors across the state to shut down remaining dispensaries that sell marijuana" as they now qualify as a "public nuisance."

* The original lawsuit concerned just one such dispensary, the "Compassionate Apothecary," that had been operating in Mt. Pleasant. The state had originally forced the business to close its doors for alleged violations of the state's public health codes. The business' owners had challenged the state's right do so.

* Schuette reportedly plans to send directions to prosecutors across the state on how to file public nuisance charges against any remaining such dispensaries in Michigan.

* As noted by The Detroit Free Press and other media outlets, the state Supreme Court did overrule a different decision by a state Appeals Court in Isabella County, that had stated that caregiver-to-patient sales were not protected under the state's medical marijuana laws either.

* Schuette had been pushing the state Supreme Court to find all sales of medical marijuana illegal.

* The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act was voted into law by the public as a ballot proposal in the 2008 elections. Part of the state Supreme Court's decision on Friday, according to The Detroit Free Press, hinged on the fact that the original law as approved by Michigan voters does not contain the terms "sale" or "dispensary" within its statutes.

* The court case, recorded as State of Michigan v. McQueen, was decided by the state Supreme Court in a 4-1 decision.

* Proponents of medical marijuana dispensaries reportedly are pinning their hopes on a bill that has been introduced in the state Legislature that would specifically lay the groundwork for such dispensaries to be legally protected in Michigan going forward.

Vanessa Evans is a musician and freelance writer based in Michigan, with a lifelong interest in politics and public issues.

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