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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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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Senate Bill Restricts Medical Marijuana Use

Michigan Senator Rick Jones' bill passed the Senate on Tuesday that will restrict the use of medical marijuana by proscribing it in all public venues, and allows a property owner to prohibit any otherwise legal use of marijuana on his property.  If the bill passes the House, then Michigan's Medical Marijuana Act, passed via voter initiative back in 2008, will be amended by the restrictions.

A close reading of the original act shows that smoking pot has been prohibited in public places all along. Jones' bill clarifies the term "public" by expanding the definition to include private property that is open to the public, i.e. like a restaurant, store or amusement park.

The more onerous restriction, however, comes in the form of granting landlords the power to prohibit medical marijuana use when the restriction is written into the lease.  In discussing his bill with the media last month, Senator Jones described complaints he received from constituents whose rental properties were ruined by pot-growing tenants.

Seeing the handwriting on the wall of the senate chamber, the pro-pot caucus proposed tie-barring Jones' bill to a bill languishing in the House that would legalize edible marijuana [think pot brownies]; something that was recently outlawed by the Michigan Court of Appeals as being outside the scope of the MMA.

The plenary Senate wasn't having it, and Jones' bill passed with the "super-majority" needed to amend voter-initiated legislation like the MMA.  This bill could get legs in the House and become law by this summer.

So here is a shout-out to all you medical marijuana patients out there: if you are going to medicate, then you may need to own your home.  Otherwise, you may have no where to go to [legally] smoke your pot.

We here at the Law Blogger do not see too many tears being shed over these restrictions.  But we would expect that, should this bill become law, it will sustain marijuana's criminalization enough to keep the criminal defense bar happy for some time to come.

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