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STEVE ELLIOTT

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Medical marijuana advocates won a big victory last week when the state Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that patient-to-patient transfers of cannabis are allowed for medical use under state law.

The court, in a setback for notoriously anti-pot Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, said that patients can legally deliver cannabis to one another, as long as they don’t exchange money and they follow the other provisions of the state’s medical marijuana law, such as staying within a 2.5-0unce limit, reports Bill Laitner at the Detroit Free Press.

“It’s a huge deal,” said Southfield attorney Neil Rockind, who defends medical marijuana users in criminal cases. “A lot of us have been saying all along that the act allowed this, but police and prosecutors kept going after patients who did this.”

Attorney Neil Rockind: "It's a huge deal"
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Attorney Neil Rockind:
“It’s a huge deal”

The opinion is binding on all lower courts. It not only increases access to medical marijuana, it also eliminates an illegal step that patients were forced to take to begin growing cannabis, Rockind said. “Now, anyone who is registered can get started — they can obtain seeds to grow cannabis legally.”

The case in question involved Tony Green of Hastings, northeast of Kalamazoo, who was legally registered with the state as a patient when police arrested him for giving a small amount of medicinal cannabis to another registered patient, according to Lansing attorney Max Newburg.

Newburg won an initial dismissal of the case in Barry County Circuit Court, but since Attorney General Schuette is a horse’s ass, his office intervened to file an appeal.

No decision has been made on whether to appeal the ruling to the Michigan Supreme Court, according to the Attorney General’s office.

The ruling could be — and is, in many quarters — being interpreted as legitimizing dispensaries, the retail distributors of medical marijuana which Schuette has vigorously opposed.

The only fly in the ointment of Wednesday’s ruling is that the man who won, is serving a prison sentence on a separate charge of selling marijuana to two undercover agents, his attorney said.

 

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