Michigan Legislature considering dispensary and civil fine bills
Two significant bills have been proposed in the Michigan Legislature.
In February, the Michigan Supreme Court issued its opinion in State v. McQueen, ruling that patients cannot transfer marijuana to other patients, which formed a key component to the dispensary model in Michigan. In effect, the decision dealt a death blow to the dispensary model throughout the state.
Fortunately, Rep. Mike Callton (R-Nashville) has introduced a bill that would allow dispensaries in cities and towns that recognize and regulate them. The bill enjoys broad bipartisan support, but has remained in committee since shortly after it was introduced. Please take a moment to ask your state representative and state senator to support HB 4271 so that patients can have safe, state-legal access to their medicine.
In addition, State Rep. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) introduced a bipartisan bill that would decriminalize possession of an ounce or less of marijuana in Michigan. HB 4623 would amend state law and remove all criminal penalties including jail time. You can voice your support for this bill by contacting your representative and senator and asking them to get behind this important bill.
You should also subscribe to our email alerts to be the first to know when this and other bills have important hearings or votes in the legislature.
Marijuana laws in Michigan (non-medical)
Michigan law is unusual in that it includes separate penalties for both the possession and use of marijuana. Possession of any amount of marijuana – whether several ounces or a single gram – is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. Separately, use of marijuana is also a misdemeanor, punishable by 90 days in jail and a fine of not more than $100. Lastly, possession in or within 1,000 feet of a public or private park can land the offender in jail for up to two years. For statistics and information on Michigan’s marijuana laws, check out this excellent summary by Jon Gettman, Ph.D.
If you’ve been arrested or need legal assistance, there are many options in the state, but MPP recommends Neil Rockind, PC, who generously provided MPP with pro bono legal assistance. Neil is a zealous and effective advocate.
The Michigan Medical Marihuana Program
Application forms, along with the full text of the law and accompanying regulations, can be found at the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website.
Under the MMMA, patients can choose to either cultivate their own medical marijuana in an enclosed, locked facility or to designate a caregiver to do so for them. Caregivers can assist no more than five patients. Also, note that in late 2012, the legislature passed several bills that changed the way the program works. Here’s a helpful summary (PDF) of those new laws.