Medical Marijuana Lawyer Seeks Further Appeal on Dispensary Case
Our readers may recall that the oral arguments in this appeal were the subject of some fanfare when journalist Eric Van Dussen sought to record the arguments, as he did in the People v Anderson medical marijuana case. Jurisprudence in the making is certainly newsworthy; particularly when it concerns our fledgling yet tortured medical marijuana law.
Now this appeal grinds onward to the Michigan Supreme Court. So promises Matthew R. Newburg, legal counsel to the Michigan Association of Compassion Centers, appearing as an amicus in the case.
The Court of Appeals granted Van Dussen's request to record the argument on behalf of the media; granted the Attorney General, also an amicus, 10-minutes of appellant's oral argument time; but denied Mr. Newburg's request to get in on the action at oral argument; his 10-minutes [of fame] will have to wait for another case, unless the Supreme Court grants his application for leave to appeal.
The Compassionate Apothecary claims it was simply operating a "club" of about 345 legal pot growers who "traded" various strains of medical marijuana. In exchange for making a clubhouse available for its pot aficionado membership, Compassionate Apothecary took commissions off the top of all intramural marijuana transactions.
The intermediate appellate court ruled that the act does not authorize such commissions or transactions. The Isabella County Prosecutor has mailed the appellate opinion to all marijuana dispensaries in the county; advising them to cease any operations that contravene the appellate court's decision.
Going beyond the bald mechanics of his client's business model, however, Attorney Newburg told Michigan Lawyers Weekly that the MMA expressly provides for transfers from caregivers to patients and also allows patients who "grow-their-own". The Apothecary's legal counsel also noted that the MMA is silent regarding so-called "patient-to-patient" transfers of the type that apparently went down at the club.
With those arguments in hand, the Compassionate Apothecary now proceeds to the Michigan Supreme Court. Given the mess that this law has become, the High Court may actually take the bait and grant the Apothecary's application for leave to further appeal so they can sort it all out.
We will follow this one as it develops. Even if the High Court declines this case, there are others building up behind it that are equally, er, "newsworthy".