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Three Dispensaries Raided

In a continuing battle between law enforcement in Michigan and medical marijuana practices, three dispensaries in the Springfield, MI area were raided last week. Springfield is a small city, just west of Battle Creek, with a population (2010) of just over 5,000.

The Detroit Free Press reported that officers raided the Karmacy, the Southwest Compassion Care Center and Happy Daze. Officers also raided the home of one of the owners of the Karmacy lived, in Kalamazoo. The raids sprung from state police investigations of practices at the dispensaries and from undercover purchases made.

What is and isn’t permissible under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act has been on ongoing dispute, with the most recent court ruling siding with those wanting stronger enforcement. As it stands now, transfer of marijuana is only legal if it occurs from a registered caregiver to one of his patients. This makes most dispensaries outside the law, even if they do not sell marijuana directly but only connect growers with users.

According to the Freep, a Michigan State Police officer on the Southwest Enforcement Team, said they suspected all three dispensaries were violating the law, since they are alleged to have transferred medical marijuana without properly documenting a patient-caregiver relationship. On the other side of the issue, strict enforcement of the law as currently interpreted makes the dispensary model unworkable, and some have remained open as a type of civil protest.

The problem, from the patient viewpoint, is that strict interpretation keeps marijuana out of the hands of those who should be getting it. Patients who do not grow the plant themselves (and may be prohibited from doing so, depending on where they live or physical limitations) are stuck trying to find a caregiver to grow for them. Since caregivers are not allowed to profit from the relationship and are limited to five patients, there is a serious shortage of available “medicine.”

Advocates point out that the letter of the law is destroying the spirit and intent and this may be one reason they continue to operate, despite the very real risk of arrest, prosecution and forfeiture of assets.

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