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Michigan Supreme Court Medical Marijuana Ruling Reinforces Need For Definitive Dispensary Legislation

DETROIT, Feb. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Patients' Rights Association today said that the recent Michigan Supreme Court decision of People v. McQueen reinforces the desperate need for definitive laws related to medical marijuana provisioning centers in the state.

"Never has the timing been more urgent to get a definitive law in place as it relates to medical marijuana provisioning centers," said National Patients' Rights Association spokesman Drew Driver .  "The real losers in the recent ruling are the patients. All this has done is created even more confusion to an already complicated and complex system. Many patients rely on dispensaries for safe access to medicine and do not possess the knowledge to either grow their own or access the most appropriate variety from others. An increasing number of patients have limited access to medical marijuana and now are in an even more precarious situation."

The Michigan Supreme Court case is a civil injunction case—not a criminal case. According to attorney Paul Tylenda , the central focus of the case was whether the dispensary was a public nuisance and could be shut down.  "This ruling clarified the protections available to patients and caregivers under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act," Tylenda said.  "It does not, however, provide immunity for a patient to transfer marijuana to another patient.  What should be noted is that the Court said 'sales' are included in the Act under the definition of 'medical use' and that the affirmative defense can be asserted in any criminal case involving marijuana.  Patient transfers that are not immune under Section 4 of the Act are still eligible for a hearing to claim protection under the affirmative defense of Section 8."

As pharmacies and doctors are not permitted to provide medical marijuana to their patients, many turn to medical marijuana provisioning centers simply because they lack the knowledge to grow their own. At a provisioning center, patients can secure a variety of medical marijuana, including cannabis hybrids and other medical marijuana strains, as well as alternative ways to consume it. 

Michigan Representative Mike Callton (R-Nashville) said: "I am concerned cancer patients and others won't have access to the drug without dispensaries.  A vast number of the state's 125,000 medical-marijuana users can't grow their own medicine and there aren't enough caregivers to grow it for them. Patients will be forced to go underground to find medical marijuana, or they go without their medicine."

The NPRA is backed by patients, caregivers, businesses and a range of other supporters.  Collectively, the coalition is working to broaden awareness, reach legislators in a targeted manner, and help mobilize patients and caregivers who are affected by current and proposed medical marijuana laws.  A key objective of the coalition is a push for definitive regulation in terms of standardization — ranging from safety and storage needs, document management requirements, privacy, and overall industry standards and procedures.

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SOURCE National Patients’ Rights Association
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