February 8, 2013

Michigan Bombshell: Supreme Court Says Dispensaries Are Illegal, Many Centers Could Close


The Michigan Supreme Court has ruled that dispensaries are illegal under local medical cannabis laws, a worst-case scenario for the state’s MMJ industry.

The ruling leaves no doubt about the legal status of the estimated 75-100 dispensaries in Michigan. These centers have been operating under hazy conditions for several years, given that the state’s medical marijuana law doesn’t specifically mention dispensaries. Now, local officials have clear justification for closing these dispensaries down.

But how many dispensaries actually close will depend on how aggressive the state and individual cities are in enforcing the laws.

“I think we’ll continue to see the same type of patchwork we see now, where dispensaries are in some cities and not in others,” said Matthew Abel, a local MMJ attorney. “Some municipalities have even licensed them, and I don’t think they’re going to change anything.”

Still, there will likely be casualties. It’s a shocking development for many cannabis professionals, who felt the momentum had shifted in their favor in recent months amid numerous positive developments. Just this week, a report revealed that Michigan generated $10 million in revenue – and a roughly $6 million surplus – from MMJ patient registration and renewal fees. The stats show the potential of the medical cannabis industry to lift the state our of the economic doldrums if Michigan decided to regulate and tax dispensaries.

The Supreme Court upheld a previous appeals court decision that the state’s MMJ law does not allow marijuana sales. Many dispensaries across Michigan closed after the ruling, but dozens stayed open in cities that chose not to target centers.

“The Court of Appeals reached the correct conclusion that defendants are not entitled to operate a business that facilitates patient-to-patient sales of marijuana,” the court wrote in the ruling (you can read the decision in its entirely here).

While the Michigan cannabis industry has lost a very large battle, the larger war is not over. Medical marijuana advocates will now redouble efforts to persuade lawmakers to overhaul the state’s medical marijuana act in a way that would allow dispensaries to exist in a regulated system.


  1. Laws are in need of revamping, for sure. The intent of the law is being lost in all of this.. The people have spoken..they want medical marijuana, they want access to it, they want the research to brought to the level that it should be at, and, the people do not want legitamate medical marijuana patients and caregivers or the people that help patients obtain the medicine to be treated like criminals. The revenue that is being generated alone from the mmj card system in mich (50million profit !!) is just the tip of the income that could be realized from properly taxing and regulating this industry. Wake up people, it is here, its going to stay here, and, once everyone can see that , we will look back at this time in our history, shake our heads, and chuckle…why were we so stupid ?

  2. dumbheaded, just like arizona.

  3. I agree with Herbie “The intent of the law is being lost in all of this.. ”
    It seems now that lawyers and law enforcement are searching for anything in laws that don’t specifically spell out what the people want. I think in most cases they know what that is; but grasp at anything just to keep it from happening..it will sooner or later. Good luck Michigan.. Peace..DD

  4. It’s actually a little over $5 million, not $50 million, but point well taken. What it is is that an old dying law is trying to fight back. But it is doomed. A couple of more elections later it will be completely crushed, because the people won’t vote for anyone who’s against medical mj, or even full legalization. Yes, a huge battle has been lost, but consider this war being won :)

  5. I’ll be glad when these officals are voted out of office. Look at the crooks, Ray Nagan, New Orleans mayor recently busted for taking bribes, Jackson Jr, now that he is feeling better, they can finally haul him off to prison, only GOD knows how many in government positions are crooks. Sell the container, the MMJ is free. I am tired of being in pain and denied something that works.

  6. Since when does the peoples vote matter? These elected officials should have their financials scrutinized closely. I smell big pay offs. The illegal drug traffickers are throwing a huge party I bet as they will see their business pick up. Way to go Michigan. Do they have for profit prisons in Michigan?

  7. crooks, too many of them in public office fall into this categorie and throughout our nations history and goverment all over the world you’ll find crooks, prostitutes of justice. congressmen wake somedays with 5000-6000 hundred shares of stock, new homes somehow manage to materialize when they take office, hmm must be a very fine fraternity to live like that on their salaries. campaign contributions have always been they way to riches when you know how to work it. oh and don’t forget the president because he knows the game too.

  8. Of course, no alternative is provided or suggested, so we dig up our old dealers numbers, and give the money to high school students who have all the good pot anyway! This state never ceases to baffle me…..All the problems we have that need serious attention, and they want to waste our money with this crap!

  9. Marijuana users are a hard group to organize. Michigan needs a central repository for information. If only the MMMA had a website that worked! Number one drug problem is prescription drugs and our AG Bill Schutte is making sure they stay that way. I heard we now have four times as many meth labs than before Bill was in charge. Also heard he named himself in the law suit surrounding Big Daddy’s because they had the largest amount of signatures for his impeachment, so he locked that evidence up so he couldn’t be recalled last election. He is also working harder than anyone to keep those dispensaries closed but by doing that is working against the will of most of the people and not doing the best job for the state as the top cop!

  10. Plenty of caregivers in Michigan looking for patients!!! Dispensaries are over charging to cover there overhead and make money off of these supposedly sick people that the dispensary owners truly care about!!! What a crock !!! All dispensary owners care about is lining their own pockets !!!! Grow your own !! Get a caregiver and save a lot of money

  11. Thomas Peterson is sooo rie

  12. dispensaries rob the people supposedly sick people to benefit themselves and their owners. the dispensary owners are buying this stuff off the streets for 25% of the cost they are selling it for on their shelves. garbage bud with bugs mold and all. on top of that using iron laboratories as if all the bud is tested first. SCAM IS WHAT THEY SHOULD BE CALLED. NOT. NATURES ALTERNATIVE HELPING HANDS KIND BUDS. ALL RIP OFFS

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