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A Better Partnership
February 08, 2013

MSC affirms injunction against medical marijuana dispensary

The Michigan Supreme Court has affirmed the Court of Appeals in a February 8, 2013 opinion, holding that a medical marijuana dispensary that facilitates patient-to-patient transfers of marijuana is not protected by the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) and is therefore subject to injunction as a public nuisance. See the prior post on the Court of Appeals opinion here.

In Michigan v. McQueen, our Supreme Court affirmed 4-1 (with Justice McCormack not participating), albeit on alternate grounds from that of the Court of Appeals, that the dispensary, which takes a percentage of patient-to-patient sales, is not protected under MMMA. The Court of Appeals held that a sale of marijuana could not qualify as a "medical use," under Section 3(e), preventing protection under MMMA. The Supreme Court disagreed with that analysis, holding that a sale can be within the "medical use" definition, but instead holding that MMMA (in Section 4) does not protect patient-to-patient sales. The Court held that the language of the statute requires that for protection from prosecution, the conduct related to marijuana was for the purposes of alleviating "the qualifying patient's dehabilitating medical condition or symptoms," i.e. the patient's own conditions, instead of that of even another qualifying patient. The reasoning of the opinion would apply to any patient-to-patient transfer of marijuana, not just a sale.

Justice Cavanagh dissented, disagreeing that the language of Section 4 requires the transfer occur for the purpose of aiding the transferor patient. He reads the language as only requiring that the transfer's purpose be to help the transferee qualifying patient.

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