Some Medical Marijuana Sales Can Resume At Chesterfield Business
A Macomb County judge Wednesday said he would revise his recent opinion and allow operators of a former Chesterfield Township medical marijuana dispensary to maintain, use and transfer the drug in limited fashion.
Big Daddy's Management Group, which operates the facility, asked the judge to clarify his ruling last month that declared the facility a nuisance and banned marijuana on the premises. Big Daddy's says it complied with the ruling, which followed a Nov. 3-4 evidentiary hearing.
Foster agreed that Big Daddy's should be allowed to grow, cultivate, use and exchange marijuana as allowed by the Medical Marihuana Act, passed by voters in 2008.
"I will sit down and rewrite this opinion," Foster said, promising to issue it within a week. "I cannot prohibit what the people of the state of Michigan passed and what the Court of Appeals approved."
The ruling satisfied Big Daddy's attorneys.
"It may not be enough to keep Big Daddy's in business, but it's a fairer order," said attorney Corbett O'Meara. "He's a fair judge, and gave us a fair hearing today."
O'Meara said he expects Foster will merely add the clause, "except as allowed under the Medical Marihuana Act."
O'Meara, however, said disagreements could arise because, "There is confusion about what the MMA allows."
Colleen O'Connor, attorney for the township, opposed the judge amending his ruling.
"It seems like they are asking the court to rule on hypotheticals which I don't think is proper," O'Connor said. "There is an abundance of evidence of the sale of marijuana. You can't do that."
Foster said he did not go into detail about allowing activities allowed under the MMA in his original ruling because, "I can only rule on the evidence presented to me."
He reiterated that "patient to patient sales" are illegal, as determined by the state Court of Appeals decision in People v. McQueen, which is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
At the hearing, five patients licensed under the MMA testified about purchasing marijuana at Big Daddy's; none of the sellers was a caregiver to whom the patient was registered.
Although the growth and use of marijuana was inferred, there was no evidence of it taking place. Other potential witnesses declined to testify, citing their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Foster on Nov. 30 labeled the facility a nuisance because it violated the law by allowing patients to receive marijuana from sellers who were not listed as their primary caregiver. He ordered Big Daddy's to not produce, possess or exchange marijuana on its premises.
Under the MMA, a caregiver can supply for five listed patients, although some attorneys disagree with that interpretation.
A patient can possess up to 12 plants and 2.5 ounces of marijuana. A licensed caregiver can possess enough marijuana and plants for himself and five patients. Caregivers can receive compensation for costs.
Foster on Wednesday also rejected Big Daddy's request that its attorneys meet with attorneys for the township and state Attorney General Bill Schuette, who interceded in the case as an interested party, to clarify rules.
Big Daddy's, located on Gratiot Avenue, remains open, selling growing equipment and supplies.
The case is not over. Issues remain over Big Daddy's occupancy permit and whether it violates the zoning ordinance. No court dates have been set.
Source: Voice, The (New Baltimore, MI)
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