What a Great Time to be a Registered Caregiver

In the case of State of Michigan vs. McQueen, the Supreme Court effectively shut the doors on medical marijuana dispensaries.  Although one Supreme Court Justice, Michael Cavanagh, applied the correct rules of statutory interpretation that were also consistent with the purpose of the MMMA, the majority of Justices chose to disregard Justice Cavanagh’s reasoning to conclude that the MMMA’s immunity provision for medical use (§ 4) contemplates that a registered qualifying patient’s medical use of marijuana only occur for the purpose of alleviating his or her own debilitating medical condition or symptoms, and not for another patient’s conditions or symptoms.  As such, the Supreme Court held that § 4 does not authorize a registered qualifying patient to transfer marijuana to another registered qualifying patient, nor does it authorize a registered primary caregiver to transfer marijuana to anyone other than a registered qualifying patient to whom the caregiver is connected through the state’s registration process.  Since most dispensary models facilitate patient-to-patient sales, those transfers encompass marijuana-related conduct that is not for the purpose of alleviating the transferor’s debilitating medical condition.  Consequently, § 4 immunity does not apply and any such dispensaries can be declared a public nuisance pursuant to MCL 600.3801 and MCL 333.7104.

Unfortunately, it appears that the state is using “our law” to line their own pockets rather than providing the debilitatingly ill citizens of this state reasonable access to medical marijuana.  Observe that the state Licensing and Regulatory Affairs office has collected $10 million from medical marijuana patients and caregivers, which is more than twice the cost of running the program.  Conveniently, the most politically biased Supreme Court in the country, according to the pre-eminent University of Chicago study, effectively shut the doors on dispensaries just days before our legislature introduced a new version of the Provisioning Centers Act (House Bill 4271), which permits dispensaries in the state that just outlawed them.  In terms of generating political contributions and lobbying of legislators from the over 100 dispensaries that were in operation prior to the ruling, the timing of the Supreme Court’s decision could not have worked out any better for our legislators (who coincidentally have the most influence over who gets nominated to the Supreme Court).

At the end of the day, (aside from the lobbied legislators) the only winners are caregivers who are the sole source of medical marijuana available to their registered patients.  And, did the McQueen case just grant caregivers the authority to charge their registered patients for medical marijuana as long as they do so “at cost” rather than for monetary gain?