Medical Marijuana Act Going Up in Smoke?
This week, it was a Dearborn district court judge declaring the entire MMA unconstitutional on federal preemption grounds. Judge Mark Somers invoked the doctrine of federal preemption and the supremacy clause in denying defendant's motion to dismiss in People v Brandon. He caught headlines by ruling that the MMA conflicted with an area controlled by federal law.
This week also gave us a rare "about face" from the Court of Appeals on the issue of video taping oral arguments in a seminal marijuana case. A journalist, Eric VanDussen, sued the Court of Appeals upon being denied access to record the oral arguments in the People v Anderson case. The High Court remanded the case back to the COA, mandating that the intermediate appellate court, "articulate the reason why 'the fair administration of justice' warrants the denial of [VanDussen's] request to film oral argument on May 10, 2011.
As a result of the Supreme Court's order, the COA decided to let the cameras roll. What's the "over-under" on how long (as in minutes) it will take for the video of the Anderson arguments to make it to YouTube. I'm thinking five minutes. [As promised, here is the link. Note: it appears that the link has been disabled.]
Last month, a seminar on the MMA scheduled to be conducted in a privately owned horticultural store in Highland Township was cancelled on short notice on grounds the township clerk alerted organizers that it would vigorously enforce their pot growing ordinance. In Highland, like many other townships, an ordinance imposes a moratorium on the growth, sale or dispensation of marijuana.
Also last month, a Saginaw physician, Dr. Ruth Buck, was indicted on federal charges of aiding and abetting in the distribution of marijuana, a Schedule I drug. The suit questions Dr. Buck's due diligence relative to her examination into her patients' so-called chronic illnesses, as required under the Act.
In addition to the Anderson case, soon to be decided by the Court of Appeals, the Redden case, pending before the Supreme Court, is destined to be the seminal case on this subject for some time. Last month, Attorney General Bill Schuette filed an amicus brief in the Redden case.
We will have our answers soon on the question of whether the MMA has the legs to stick around to authorize the palliative use of marijuana; or whether the act will go up in smoke as a failed piece of legislation, torn apart via ordinance and the common law.