Michigan Marijuana Law: Sale of Pot Between Patients is Illegal

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on August 25, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Brandon McQueen and Matthew Taylor, owners of Compassionate Apothecary, a dispensary in Mount Pleasant, were on the losing end of a state appellate court ruling on Tuesday, which found that Michigan's medical marijuana law does not permit the sale of pot between patients.

As such, the dispensary was found to be in violation of the state's public health code and marijuana drug laws, allowing officials to shut it down as a public nuisance.

Compassionate Apothecary operates by facilitating the sale of excess marijuana between patients and caregivers, which it keeps on its premises in lockers rented by members.

When patients come in to make a purchase, an employee accesses the lockers and makes the sale.

Michigan's medical marijuana law does not authorize dispensaries, and, along with permitting a certain number of plants, limits patients to 2.5 oz and caregivers to 2.5 oz per registered patient.

The dispensary facilitated the sale of 19 lbs of marijuana in its first two months, notes Reuters.

Michigan's medical marijuana law operates as an exception to its drug laws, according to the court. Thus, anyone acting outside its confines is in violation of the law.

First and foremost, the court found that the pair was illegally in possession and selling marijuana, as the business had control over the lockers, and when a sale was made, it took 20%.

It also found that, while the la doesn't actually explain how patients without registered caregivers are to obtain marijuana, it still does not permit patient-to-patient sales.

Though this is unique to Michigan's medical marijuana law, this decision is important for its reminder that medical marijuana laws are exceptions to state drug laws. Patients need to be very aware of how they can use pot, otherwise they may risk criminal charges.

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