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Michigan Supreme Court hears medical marijuana cases

The Michigan Supreme Court has taken up two cases that address the distribution of medical marijuana.
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Proposed changes to the medical marijuana law in Michigan could add regulations to how users can grow and store the plant.

The future of medical marijuana dispensaries and growing cooperatives are on the line with two cases before the Michigan Supreme Court. The court heard arguments on those cases Thursday.

Isabella County Prosecutor Risa Scully said the medical marijuana act does not allow dispensaries where patients can share marijuana with each other.

“The act clearly delineates two methods in which a qualified patient may obtain their marijuana—they may grow it themselves or they may designate a caregiver to grow it for them,” Scully said.

Mary Chartier represents the operators of a marijuana-sharing dispensary that was shut down by Isabella County authorities. She says the medical marijuana law is silent on dispensaries, so they should be allowed.

“It’s one sick person to another, and I believe that voters when they went—and 63 percent said yes—recognized that sick people would need to acquire their medical marijuana from somewhere,” Chartier said.

The operator of a growing cooperative in Grand Rapids is also fighting charges that he violated the medical marijuana’s 12-plant limit.

The court is expected to rule in coming months.

In the meantime, the Legislature is also looking at adding some definition to the medical marijuana law that was approved by voters in 2008.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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