Medical Marijuana Law Needs Radical Revision, Says Michigan Attorney General, Lawmakers

Michigan’s medical marijuana law is so poorly drafted as to be unworkable, a coalition of lawmakers, prosecutors and Attorney General Bill Schuette said this morning, calling for sweeping new regulations and the closure of most, if not all, existing marijuana dispensaries.

Schuette also issued an official attorney general’s opinion today, declaring that no more than 12 marijuana plants can be cultivated in a single location under the voter-approved medical marijuana statute.

That restriction would apply to caregivers, authorized under the law to grow up to 12 plants for as many as five patients, Schuette said. Each set of plants grown by the caregiver is required to be in a separate, enclosed, locked facility accessible only to the caregiver and a single patient, the opinion says.

State Rep. John Walsh, R-Livonia, said extensive new regulations are needed to address deficiencies in the law which have confounded police, prosecutors and local officials.

The proposed legislation would more specifically define the nature of the doctor-patient relationship between a medical marijuana patient and the physician authorizing use. It would also more strictly define an enclosed, locked facility suitable for marijuana plants, and clarify zoning authority for local communities dealing with proposed retail outlets, so-called dispensaries.

Schuette and Walsh appeared to disagree, however, on whether or not dispensaries, at which medical marijuana patients can purchase small quantities of the drug, could be legal under any circumstances. Schuette said he believes the law approved by voters did not authorize dispensaries, and said local police and prosecutors are acting within their authority in taking enforcement action against their operators.

“This is all out of control,” Schuette said. “Michigan citizens didn’t vote to legalize marijuana. The (law) is being exploited by criminals.”

Walsh said hearings on the legislation will be forthcoming later this summer and fall. He said proponents will be working with their colleagues in the state Senate as well, where several other proposed medical marijuana regulatory bills are pending.

– Article originally from Detroit Free Press.