LANSING – The Michigan Supreme Court agreed today to decide a key issue in the wide range of disputes over Michigan’s voter-approved medical marijuana law – whether registered patients are permitted to sell marijuana to other registered patients.
An appeals court decision last year prohibiting such sales resulted in the closure of dozens of so-called marijuana dispensaries across the state.
The case to be heard by the Supreme Court involves a dispensary called Compassionate Apothecary in Mt. Pleasant which was targeted by the Isabella County Prosecutor’s office in 2010. A lower court found that patient-to-patient sales were permitted under Michigan law and allowed the dispensary, where registered patients could purchase marijuana from other patients, to remain in operation. It closed after last year’s appellate ruling.
Prosecutors and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette argue the only sales of marijuana allowed under the law are those by a registered “caregiver” to his or her registered patients. They asked the courts to order Compassionate Apothecary and other retail sales outlets closed as public nuisances.
Advocates for medical marijuana claim the law permits such sales, and that closing the dispensaries leads many vulnerable patients to seek medicine on the black market.