I had been asked to do a medical marihuana presentation. This was not a big deal being I had been doing presentations for two years. What makes this presentation different is the audience. I was not speaking to the general public, but college professors, critical thinkers, anti-drug activists, and politicians. I’d written out the points I wanted to stress upon. This is my presentation.
I heard that I was a pothead who was manipulating medical use as an excuse for legalization. I stated that before the passage of Proposition 1, I was not a marihuana user. I also asked, “When did you hear me speak of legalization?”
My interpretation of the law is a simple and analytical dissection of the law.
1. The law provides for those people with severe and chronic conditions the limited right to use marihuana to help ease their medical issues.
2. This use is precipitated by medical approval by a physician.
3. The patient is allowed to buy, have grow process, and have in their body; or to use the words written into the law, acquisition, possession, cultivation, manufacture, use, internal possession, delivery, transfer, or transportation of marihuana.
4. The patient can grow marihuana for their personal use, or they can select a person, called a primary caregiver, to do so for them. The patient can also grow for themselves and select a person to assist them with other forms of use.
5. One person can be a caregiver for up to five patients. The caregiver can only provide for the patients with whom they have State registration, but no one else. The caregiver may receive compensation for costs.
6. The garden is restricted to an "enclosed, locked facility" that permits access only by a registered primary caregiver or registered qualifying patient. An enclosed facility is described as a closet, room, or other enclosed area equipped with locks or other security devices. Grow tents might be wise investments.
7. The law also allows coverage to registered visitors from other medical marihuana states. The law offers two levels of protection. One level gives full protections for registered patients (and their caregivers) that have been issued, and in procession of a registration card up to 2.5oz of dried usable plant material or preparation thereof, and up to twelve plants. Said person will not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau.
8. The other level is that of “Affirmative Defense”. There is no limits to the about or number of plants of material a person can process (It does state that the amount process must be no more than a quantity of marihuana that was not more than was reasonably necessary to ensure the uninterrupted availability of marihuana for the purpose of treating or alleviating the patient's issues). Automatic protection is not provided. After a person is brought to trial, they can present to the court proof that their use or procession was medical. If all the points listed under the Affirmative Defense of the law are correctly present, the patient (or caregiver) can present a Motion to Dismiss. The law dictates that charges shall be dismissed following an evidentiary hearing. The AD would be used by the patient who is unregistered; a person who sold/transferred to a patient or primary caregiver ; a patient or primary caregiver who is in procession of a quantity that is reasonable, but is greater than what is protected.
9. The law also speak to who cannot and where marihuana cannot be used; the Michigan Department of Community Health creation, administration, and adoption of rules; and of penalties.
There is no mention in the law as to marihuana businesses.
As far as caregivers: the law states that caregivers may receive compensation for costs. Cost does not include profits. Granted, much is determined on the arrangements between the parties.
As far as doctors: they must be licensed to practice in the State of Michigan. There is nothing that states that the doctor of record has to have been treating, or is or will treat the patient; it does state that stating the physician's must provide his/her professional opinion that the patient is likely to receive therapeutic or palliative benefit from the medical use of marihuana. So yes, you may have heard of stories of eye doctors signing paperwork that allow people to use marihuana medically.
As far as medical marihuana clinics: there have been a number of clinics that have opened for the sole purpose of signing patients. These are not necessarily doctor offices. Many of these places charge for helping to complete paperwork some demand that you use their caregivers, some charge extra if you don’t use their caregivers, some are fronts for store/dispensaries. There is nothing legally forbidding any of this.
Dispensaries: as Bill Schuette said in 2008, “Because there is nothing in the law that says they are illegal, that must be legal. In addressing were patients are to obtain medication, the law provides three options: the patient can grow it, they can have a “primary caregiver” to provide for them, or they can get it wherever. I base the third options on reading (let me quote directly from the law) 333.7106 (e) "Medical use" means the acquisition, delivery, transfer, or transportation of marihuana or paraphernalia relating to the administration of marihuana. This statement allows for a patient to receive marihuana from another patient. I further add, 333.26428 (3) the patient engaged in the acquisition, possession, use, delivery, transfer, or transportation of marihuana or paraphernalia relating to the use of marihuana to treat or alleviate the patient's serious or debilitating medical condition or symptoms of the patient's serious or debilitating medical condition. This seems to include the patient’s ability to make purchases off the street if necessary.
Let me also say that since the primary caregiver who is growing, is doing so under the direction of his/her patients, and thus is limited. That caregiver cannot transfer any patient materials to a dispensary, because CG transfers are allowed only to and from their patients. A patient can make such a transfer.
Compassion Clubs: under the Michigan model, a compassion club is an outlet for education. It is not a store or a place to buy and sell marihuana. I believe the main factor in compassion club being lumped in the same category as dispensaries and social outlets is because the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association has allowed for dispensaries and the like to be sanctioned as compassion clubs under the 3MA’s umbrella.