Michigan pot dispensaries advised to close

The hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries in Michigan are being advised to stay closed indefinitely, legal experts said Thursday in the wake of a major appeals court ruling.

The ruling, handed down Wednesday, banned medical marijuana sales at a facility in Mount Pleasant. It prompted the estimated 400 to 500 dispensaries in Michigan to shut down and outraged the nearly 100,000 carriers of medical marijuana cards.

“They have to stay closed until further notice,” said Paul Tylenda, a Grosse Pointe Park lawyer. “If they open, they are at risk of getting treated like criminals.”

It is unclear when, if ever, any move will change the court’s interpretation of the 2008 medical marijuana law.

“Unless there are some individuals who are willing to take the risk of finding novel business plans, then dispensaries are going to be a thing of the past,” said Neil Rockind, a Southfield-based attorney.

Earlier Thursday, police raided two medical marijuana dispensaries in Ann Arbor.

A joint Livingston and Washtenaw Narcotics Enforcement Team executed search warrants at the Liberty Clinic and MedMar A2 Compassionate Health Care, where three men were arrested.

Officials said the raids were not related to Wednesday’s court action.

But Charles Ream, president of MedMar, wondered whether Ann Arbor was targeted because of its light penalties for smoking marijuana. He said police confiscated pounds of marijuana, thousands of dollars and reams of patient files.

“If they stop me, they can stop anyone,” Ream said. “People should be afraid now.”

Some patients were worried Thursday about losing access to their medicine.

For 20 years, Michael McShane of Ferndale has battled squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common skin cancer. He’s had four surgeries, six reconstructive surgeries and other treatment during the four times it has returned.

On the fifth recurrence, he started to use an essential marijuana oil on the tumors and says they have since shrunk.

McShane said there’s no way he’s going to find this on the street. “I’m trying to stay alive,” said McShane. “This isn’t politics for me. This is the real deal.”

via The Detroit News

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