Michigan's marijuana law faces proposed changes and high court hearing

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June 29, 2011

Michigan

By Bailey Ludlam

LANSING, Michigan: A 2008 medical marijuana measure continues to create confusion about enforcement and draws calls for reform.

Since voter approval in 2008, reports have indicated uneven enforcement by prosecutors, law enforcement and judges. In 2010, some local governments approved a six-month moratorium on new medical marijuana operations while officials considered future regulations.

For the first time, the Michigan Supreme Court is expected to hear a case related to the 2008 voter-approved law. Specifically, the cases involve people who have been charged with crimes for their medicinal use of marijuana. One case originated in Shiawassee County, while the other was in Oakland County. Originally the drug charges were dismissed by trial judges, however, the charges were restored when the cases were heard by the Michigan Court of Appeals.[1]

Debate continues to surround the law and proposed reforms. On Tuesday, June 28, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette issued a clarification. According to reports, the marijuana law allows for patients to grow up to 12 plants and caregivers with permits to grow up to 12 for each of their five patients. However, on June 28, Schuette said plants for each of caregivers patients must be stored in separate locked storage facilities. The opinion was effective June 28 and according to the attorney general, up to local prosecutors to enforce.[2]

But discussion won't end there. Also on June 28, Rep. John Walsh, Attorney General Schuette and other lawmakers re-introduced the need for reform. Walsh argues that confusion about the law has cost taxpayers money. Walsh and House Republicans announced that they plan to further discuss the matter in Fall 2011 and/or 2012. Proposed changes include: prohibiting patient-to-patient transaction; require plants to be enclosed, locked facilities; allow access of medical marijuana patient registries to law enforcement; clarify zoning guidelines.[2]

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