09 Feb, 2013
A Ruling Of Unintended Consequences
by Rick Thompson
The Michigan Supreme Court has provided the most narrow interpretation of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act possible. The decision in McQueen that holds all transfers of medical marijuana are illegal unless from a caregiver to his patient has unintended consequences, much like the consequences so often cited by conservatives that were created by the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMA). By eliminating dispensaries and professional caregivers the Justices have created a situation that acts in opposition to the public good- it in fact puts residents of Michigan in danger.
If people can’t get their medicine from a dispensary they will grow it themselves. The law says they can. Keeping marijuana grow operations out of houses and basements, out of residential areas, is a central theme heard in City Council meetings and County Commission sessions everywhere. Oakland County, you have over 11,000 patients and roughly 4000 caregivers- the Supreme Court just potentially put 7,000 new amateur basement grow operations in place in your county. Macomb, you’re looking at approx. 5,000 potential newbie pot farmers. Wayne County, you have 9200 more patients than registered caregivers. And a reduced police force. And a reduced fire department.
The solution is not more restriction, but acceptance. Allow caregivers to operate locally- the Supreme Court says you have to, anyway (the City of Wyoming case). Make a little money, give a little protection. License them locally and give them a County certification. Keep SWAT out of the homes of registered patients and caregivers, and Child Protective Services out of their lives.
The Supreme Court’s biggest error was in not protecting the safety of those who are already certified to be among Michigan’s most sick and vulnerable. By eliminating the ability for one patient to give medicine to another, for free, the Court has made each patient an island. Interacting with no one, gaining from no one, receiving assistance from no one. What a lonely prison you have twisted this Act into, you so-called Justices, a place where the pleas of the ill can be heard but must be ignored. The sick cannot even receive a gift? Is this now the law of the land? Is this what Michigan voters chose on November 4, 2008?
If you can’t grow your own marijuana, or if you are between harvests, or if you lost your crop to mold or an electrical failure, you are on the streets looking to buy illegal weed. No state-licensed grower can help you. Not your best friend, or your mother. No one.
‘That hooded character hanging around the side of the convenience store seems like he may have marijuana for sale- I hope he’s trustworthy. Discrete. I hope we can conduct the transaction away from the eyes of children. Away from the eyes of drunks and muggers and thieves. I hope he has a variety for me to choose from, because not all marijuana has the same effect on my illness. I hope he can give me advice, share news with me, provide a social comfort. I hope he doesn’t overcharge me. Or cheat me. Or beat me. I hope I make it home. ‘
That is the new reality for Michigan citizens. 1.64% of all adults in Michigan are registered as patients in the Michigan Medical Marijuana Program. That’s a lot of votes.