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http://www.thedailynews.cc/Main.asp?SectionID=2&SubSectionID=11&ArticleID=40595

 

8/26/2011 4:00:00 PM

Mid Michigan Compassion Club closes, reopens hours later

Ryan Jeltema-News Editor

rjeltema@staffordgroup.com

 

EVERGREEN TOWNSHIP - A state appeals court ruling about Michigan's medical marijuana law led the Mid Michigan Compassion Club to close for a short time on Thursday.

 

The Evergreen Township-based club's founder, Dave Overholt, said the club ceased operations based on a discussion he had with Montcalm County Prosecutor Andrea Krause early Thursday about her interpretation of the court ruling.

 

"We've been told that if we operate as we have been we will be arrested and prosecuted," Overholt said early Thursday. "We have to clear out our consigned meds and give them back to our caregivers."

 

They had another discussion Thursday afternoon, when Krause said she clarified her interpretation of the appeals court's ruling. Overholt decided the club will stay open under an agreement on outstanding issues he said he worked out with Krause following the afternoon talk.

 

"We've come to terms on how this club could be in operation," Overholt said after the second conversation.

 

Krause denied making a deal with Overholt.

 

Michigan voters approved a referendum in 2008 allowing medical marijuana in the state. The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA), which the state Legislature approved and former Gov. Jennifer Granholm signed in 2009 to regulate medical marijuana, does not allow any person or group to make a profit on the sale of marijuana.

 

Krause said the appeals court ruling issued on Wednesday centers on a case involving an Isabella County medical marijuana dispensary that was taking a profit from sales between marijuana patients. The patients put unused marijuana in lockers at the dispensary and other patients could buy it with the dispensary taking a 20 percent profit.

 

Krause said Wednesday's ruling makes clear that patient-to-patient sales of marijuana, patients selling unused marijuana and dispensaries earning a profit all are illegal under the medical marihuana act. However, caregivers - or growers - can be compensated for their costs in producing medical marijuana.

 

"This now to me clarifies the law on this particular issue," Krause said. "As the chief law enforcement officer in the county I'm going to follow the law."

 

Overholt credits a groundswell of supporters flooding Krause's office with calls in support of the compassion club for her alleged change of heart that led him to reopen the compassion club. He said supporters urged her to change her interpretation and allow the club to continue operating.

 

Krause acknowledged she received three calls from compassion club supporters but they did not change her opinion or lead to an agreement.

 

"The unsettled issues that he refers to were not addressed in the Court of Appeals case," she said. "They were and continue to be gray areas of the law which I am still researching."

 

Krause has not received communication from any other law enforcement agencies or state officials about how to handle medical marijuana dispensaries like the compassion club in light of the court ruling.

 

"I'm interpreting it as I read it," she said of the ruling. "I haven't received anything else. The Court of Appeals has interpreted the statute in this case so this case law is ruling the issue."

 

Krause said she and prosecutors across the state rely on legal precedents and case law for guidance on how to apply the state's various laws and codes in specific situations.

 

"Case law is what we use to interpret statutes like the MMMA," she said. "Because the MMMA is so new there aren't as many opinions out there yet."

 

Overholt said the compassion club's board met Thursday evening and its full membership is scheduled to meet this evening to discuss how the club will react to the appeals court ruling.

 

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Krause said Wednesday's ruling makes clear that patient-to-patient sales of marijuana, patients selling unused marijuana and dispensaries earning a profit all are illegal under the medical marihuana act. However, caregivers - or growers - can be compensated for their costs in producing medical marijuana.

 

"This now to me clarifies the law on this particular issue," Krause said. "As the chief law enforcement officer in the county I'm going to follow the law."

 

 

I kind of thought it was good too - or at least not all bad ;) She doesn't seem as overzealous as some prosecutors.

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