Pot Industry Confused Over Dispensary Ruling
A ruling handed down last week by the Michigan Court of Appeals which declared pot dispensaries to be illegal is causing confusion in the industry. Some observers say that the ruling could impact the ability of the patients to gain access to a consistent and safe supply of medical marijuana.
According to Morgan Fox, the Marijuana Policy Project communications manager in Washington, D.C., before this ruling was handed down, marijuana dispensaries were not explicitly legal, but they also were not explicitly against the law.
He said, “Now that state and local law enforcement have precedent to use against dispensaries, the only protection is the fact that law enforcement can use discretion about whether or not to shut these businesses down. I hope they use that discretion wisely.”
He also added that the court ruling could only deny patients to needed medication, saying, “They need to recognize that shutting down dispensaries only hurts patients and drives more money to the illicit market.”
“Many patients are unable to grow their own medicine, or obtain the strains that work best at treating their conditions. Taking away dispensaries leaves many patients without the best medicine, without enough medicine, and will surely put them in harm’s way by forcing them to resort to drug dealers instead of legitimate, patient-focused businesses, Fox said.
The center of debate in the case was whether or not Compassionate Apothecary, a dispensary in Mt. Pleasant, was operating legally under Michigan’s 2008 medical marijuana law.
Although the dispensary was previously declared legal by a judge in the Isabella County Circuit Court, the appeals court handed down a ruling Wednesday saying that the circuit court was wrong.