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Mich. Supreme Court Hears Arguments In Major Medical Marijuana Case

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LANSING (WWJ/AP) – One of the most significant legal issues since voters approved medical marijuana is on the docket at the Michigan Supreme Court.

Justices will hear arguments Thursday about shops known as dispensaries, where people with medical marijuana cards sell homegrown pot to people who don’t grow their own.

The state appeals court last year said there’s nothing in the 2008 law that allows it. A decision by the Supreme Court could settle one of the biggest challenges for people approved for medical marijuana: How do they get their drugs?

Tim Beck with the Coalition for a Safer Detroit says it’s rare for the Supreme Court to hear such an appeal.

“They do not take up every case, in fact they don’t take up a lot of cases at all. So when they do, it usually means something is wrong, it usually means that the lower court was in error. We believe that the lower court was in error and we are just delighted that the Supreme Court is going to be holding oral arguments,” said Beck.

The case involves a Mount Pleasant shop that allowed members to sell marijuana to each other, with the owners taking a 20 percent cut. The appeals court said the shops are illegal, but some communities have ignored them.

The case also involves a Grand Rapids man charged with maintaining a medical marijuana grow operation where he and others raise plants. Michael Bylsma is a licensed caregiver, but a provision in the law requires a plant facility to only be accessed by one person.

Though a final decision could still be months away, Beck believes the charge will be reversed.

“Normally, two out of three times, the lower court ruling is reversed. So, we believe it’s a very, very good sign that the court is taking this up,” he said.

Marijuana can be used to alleviate the symptoms of certain illnesses if someone sees a doctor and gets a state-issued card. Under the state’s current law, people can possess up to two ounces of ready-to-use marijuana and have up to 12 plants in a locked area.

Stay with WWJ Newsradio 950 and CBSDetroit.com for the latest.

TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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