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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Friday, September 9, 2011

Medical Marijuana Lawyer Seeks Further Appeal on Dispensary Case

This blog has covered the recent Michigan Court of Appeals decision in Michigan v McQueen which outlawed medical marijuana dispensaries as well as patient-to-patient pot sales.  This appeal is the latest chapter in the pot drama that has gripped our state since the passage of the referendum that legalized medicinal marijuana by a convincing 3/4 popular vote in the 2008 election.

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".

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Blogger jowdjbrown said...

The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.

July 12, 2015 at 4:11 AM 

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