In a ruling issued Friday, the Michigan Supreme Court held that it is illegal to sell medical marijuana through dispensaries. That means Michigan patients will either have to grow their own or rely on a designated caregiver, who is limited to providing for no more than five patients.
The medical marijuana law says registered patients can possess up to 2 ½ ounces of marijuana and grow up to 12 plants in an enclosed space, but it does not mention dispensaries or otherwise say how patients might obtain their medicine.
"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," wrote Chief Justice Robert Young for the majority.
The owners of Compassionate Apothecary had argued that their business wasn't illegal because the law allowed for the "delivery" and "transfer" of marijuana, but the high court wasn't buying. The shop could be shut down as a "public nuisance," the court affirmed.
Detroit attorney Matthew Abel, a specialist in the state's medical marijuana law, told the Associated Press the decision had settled the issue in the courts and it was now up to elected representatives to act.
"This is the end of the road. This is it," said Abel. "It will be a mess until the legislature clarifies what kinds of business entities are allowed to exist."
Ardent medical marijuana foe Attorney General Bill Schuette has yet to comment on Friday's decision, but when the appeals court ruled the same way last year, he called it "a huge victory for public safety."