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is it legal for a caregiver to sell overages to dispensaries, co-ops and other caregivers in Michigan????


Confusion clouds medical marijuana law

Raids, procurement problems make it a pipe dream for many



West Michigan Medical Services and Supplies owners Ken Baker and Nicole Rutherford both suffered back injuries years ago and use medical marijuana to manage their pain.






The Holland Sentinel

Posted May 20, 2010 @ 05:30 AM

Last update May 27, 2010 @ 10:00 AM

Holland, MI —

Medical marijuana has faced a rocky road in Michigan since the act paving the way for its legal use went into effect a year ago.

The law is murky in several areas and law enforcement has struggled to interpret it.

Meanwhile, the Holland area has many medical marijuana patients and caregivers, but the new health care provider specialty has raised new questions.

The West Michigan Enforcement Team last week raided West Michigan Medical Services and Supplies at 4284 Blue Star Highway in Fillmore Township.

No charges have been filed, but officials haven’t ruled them out either.

Owners Ken Baker and his fiancee Nicole Rutherford both suffered back injuries years ago and use medical marijuana to manage their pain, they said. They want to become state-designated caregivers for others, networking patients and caregivers and helping patients navigate the state process.

The office, an affiliate of Green Trees of Detroit, would offer a spectrum of services: pre-screening, a $250 physical exam by a company doctor, and patient state application filings.

Insurance would not cover the $250 exam. The law allows a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathic medicine licensed to practice in Michigan can authenticate the patient’s qualifying condition such as cancer, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS or Crohn’s disease.


Per ounce

Each patient who can’t grow his or her own medical marijuana can designate one caregiver on that application. West Michigan Medical Services and Supplies would also offer caregiver services at a compensation rate of $300 to $400 per ounce of medical marijuana.

“I’ve dealt with (pain) all these years. I never liked medication and so this was an alternative,” Baker said.

The marijuana is higher quality than the street drug, he said, and caregivers can offer different strains that may help varying ailments.

“We don’t want people abusing what we’re giving them, of course, or sharing it with people who are not qualified,” Baker said.

The company hopes also to offer education and legal consultation services for medical marijuana patients.

“It’s not just here’s your marijuana, have fun,” Baker said. “We’re not just going to say, ‘We’re going to give you some pot to get high,’ that’s not what we’re about.”

Similar businesses are popping up across the state, said James McCurtis, a spokesman with the Michigan Department of Community Health.

Selling and buying pot is still illegal. Caregivers can be compensated for their time and reimbursed for supplies, he said. Caregivers can have up to five patients, but cannot register on their own. The caregiver can acquire 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana and grow up to 12 marijuana plants for a qualifying patient, according to the law.

The department is getting 1,000 applications a week now, McCurtis said, and is backlogged to January. Technically, if someone has applied and not heard back from the state for 20 days, he or she can legally use medical marijuana without the state card.


Tricky enforcement

“We’re basically just trying to adhere to the laws,” Interim Holland Police Chief Matt Messer said. “There’s so many applicants, that the state only has so many people reviewing; they’re not able to get the cards out to people who qualify.”

It makes it more difficult for law enforcement to tell whether someone has legal possession of marijuana.

“If there’s any question, we can make an arrest, then the prosecutor’s office can go through the process of determining OK is this (person) legal?’”

Law enforcement across the state was against the legislation when it was proposed.

“From a law enforcement perspective we’re not in favor of it, but because it is enacted in law now, we uphold the law,” Messer said, calling the law “pretty vague in terms of who it applies to.”

Police are trying to enforce the law as it stands, but hoping for new legislation — either to repeal the act or make it more specific.

Another problem is that someone starting up as a caregiver has no legal way to obtain materials, because selling and buying marijuana or seeds is still illegal in Michigan.

The state offers no advice.

“This is a commonly known failure or weakness of the Medical Marijuana Act,” said a Holland caregiver named Kurt, who didn’t want his last name used for fear of being targetted by theives. “The law has serious flaws in it. ... You get (seeds) illegally. It’s the only way to do it.”


Local laws

Park Township officials are looking at an ordinance to regulate medical marijuana facilities there, though they have no specifics yet. The township board adopted a six-month moratorium on such facilities until an ordinance could be adopted.

Tuesday, the planning commission appointed three people to a committee to decide what the law would entail.

“They’re going to be looking at difference ordinances that have been adopted and figure out what Park Township would want,” Zoning Administrator Eric Davis said.

The township hasn’t as yet received any requests for such a business, he said.

One local caregiver, Kurt, runs Holland Medical Marijuana Services is a side business. He doesn’t expect to make a living at a compensation rate of $250 per ounce for the five patients allowed under the law.

“Legitimate patients are being discriminated against,” he said. “To me, it’s unjust. ... I see this as social activism.”

He also runs the Holland Compassionate Care Community, a “compassion club” or support group for medical marijuana patients, caregivers and their families. It meets at the Herrick District Library’s downstairs conference room. The group’s next meeting is 7 p.m. May 25.

“Some people think medical marijuana patients are just a bunch of potheads,” Kurt said.

The converse problem, he said, is people hiding illicit and illegal recreational drug use behind the new law.




is it legal for a caregiver to sell overages to dispensaries, co-ops and other caregivers in Michigan????

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