State of Marijuana: Detroit Caps Dispensaries, The Good and the Bad from the Court of Appeals
Medical Medical marijuana law moves fast in Michigan. Here is a snapshot of the latest news.
Detroit Puts Cap on Dispensaries
Detroit decided it will allow only 75 dispensaries to operate in the city. Dispensaries and processors are allowed in all industrial and business areas. The areas include midtown and downtown.
There are currently 62 dispensaries in business. Those dispensaries must obtain a license by September 15th or risk being shut down. However, the state itself has been slow to approve medical marijuana licenses and that deadline could be extended.
Court of Appeals Gets Confusing
The Court of Appeals issued an opinion in People v. Mansour that just doesn’t make sense. The case essentially would make any medical marijuana grow operation illegal.
The Court said that a caregiver only receives the protections of the MMMA when the caregiver has no unusable amount of marijuana in their possession. This includes marijuana that is drying after harvest.
Any amateur marijuana farmer knows marijuana is dried after a harvest before it is smoked. The buds cannot simply be plucked off the plant and smoked right away. The drying process is integral to the growing process. Therefore, all grow operations cannot comply with the law.
State Slowly Moves Forward with Marijuana Businesses
Almost 20 months gone by since the Michigan Marijuana Licensing Facilities Act passed. Since then, 7 licenses have been granted by the state out of 627 applications.
For the licenses, there is a dispensary and processor in Ann Arbor, a secure transport company in Lansing, and four grow operations in Chesaning, which is up north by Saginaw.
Under the law, individual communities can decide whether to allow marijuana businesses and which businesses to allow. As of now, 103 cities and townships will allow some kind of marijuana business. To put that in perspective there are a total of 1,773 townships, cities, and villages in Michigan.
Medical Marijuana v. Zoning Laws
The case of Deruiter v. Township of Byron discussed the conflict between medical marijuana and a city’s ability to enact zoning laws. The Court of Appeals ruled that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act permits the medical use of marijuana so long as the use complies with the MMMA.
Specifically, the Court ruled that a caregiver could grow in an industrially zoned area despite a zoning ordinance otherwise, so long as the grow operation was in an enclosed-locked facility and otherwise complied with the MMMA.
The Future of Medical Marijuana?
The state recently approved medical marijuana for 11 new medical conditions. We’re about three months away from the election where Michigan voters decide on recreational marijuana. The medical marijuana law passed with over 60% of the vote, so stay tuned here for more developments.
Sam Bernstein is a marijuana and criminal defense attorney in Ann Arbor.
ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48108.