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Michigan Supreme Court Chastises 'Internally Inconsistent' Interpretations of Medical Marijuana Act

Quotes from the Michigan Supreme Court reprimands accepted practices and underscore the improper treatment of medical marijuana patients in our court system.

There have been many developments in the field of medical marijuana since my last blog, both here in Michigan and nationally, material enough for a half-dozen lengthy columns easily: Science news about cannabis’ therapeutic effects in people with autism, a big article in a national paper about the Veteran’s Administration and using marijuana to treat PTSD, the Michigan Supreme Court reversing the Court of Appeals on two medical marijuana cases, the K2 crisis, HB 5681, it goes on and on.

The single thread that makes all these stories relevant and related is the mindset of the powerful. Contain and control has become big business, and our government is in that business. The prohibition of marijuana in America, my America, is being perpetuated by a system financially predicated on the revenue and expenditures created through the war on drugs. There is a better way.

Occasionally we see a light shined on the issue by neutral observers. These quotes come courtesy of the Michigan Supreme Court, who UNANIMOUSLY held that the Court of Appeals, District and Circuit Courts across the state, have been improperly denying citizens their rights.

“Under the Court of Appeals’ construction, which the prosecution urges we adopt…a defendant (must) satisfy all the requirements of Section 4 in order to establish the Section 8 affirmative defense. Principles of statutory construction do not support this conclusion… The plain language of Section 8 does not require compliance with the requirements of Section 4.” Pg 17

“Thus, Sections 4 and 7(a) have no bearing on the requirements of Section 8, and the requirements of Section 4 cannot logically be imported into the requirements of Section 8 by means of Section 7(a).” Pg. 18

You don’t have to understand what Sections 4, 7(a) and 8 are to understand what the Supreme Court is saying. The Court of Appeals, the Attorney General and the prosecutors have forced a judicial model upon legally registered patients that the Supreme Justices are saying is not logical, contradicts the plain language of the Act, and is not supported by standard interpretations of law. Unanimously, they said that. You can’t get seven people to agree on what color red is, but these seven strong personalities made these equally strong statements.

There’s more. They explain why the Appeals Judges and prosecutors have been doing this to people.

“…unregistered patients would never be eligible for the affirmative defense under Section 8. The result would be to effectively abolish the differing protections extended to registered and unregistered patients.

This interpretation is internally inconsistent, renders the affirmative defense in Section 8 a nullity, and is contrary to the electors’ intent to permit both registered and unregistered patients to assert medical reasons for using marijuana as a defense…” Pgs. 18-19

Would never be eligible… contrary to the electors’ intent…internally inconsistent… and yet, this is how prosecutions involving medical marijuana patients have been conducted for the last three years. By improperly denying a jury the right to know that a person is a patient, and that patients are people, prosecutors have forced plea bargains from licensed and registered patients who should have had an affirmative defense available to them. It is an expedient way to push patients through the system without the judicial inconvenience of a jury trial.  

The Supreme Court even included an Appendix which lists out the 10 conclusions the Court reached when deciding the two cases before them. A 10-point cheat sheet- really? That should make the Court’s message very clear-do not misunderstand what we have decided here today. And to whom is that message intended? Legislators, take note of the message contained herein. The invalid interpretations of what the Medical Marihuana Act means extends into your halls as well, Reps. Walsh, LeBlanc, Liss, Senators Jones, Marleau, Schuitmacher. Focus on these phrases- internally inconsistent… plain language…contrary to the voter’s intent. Science is on my side. The people are on my side. The Supreme Court is on my side. Do not be on the other side or we will un-elect you.

Whom do we hold accountable for this wrong? Who takes the lash for this transgression against humanity? I wish I could say it was our current Attorney General, but this is a symptom of a system that was created before he achieved the top office. He perpetuates the problem, fosters unfounded fear in the citizenry and has persecuted the sick and injured; for that he will have to answer to God.

The real issue is one of the status quo, the reluctance to adapt and change because change is uncomfortable- or should I say, unprofitable. Revenues created from forfeitures, court costs and fines, governmental drug war grants to local police departments, sale of surplus military gear and the training that comes with it are all the rewards for keeping the system intact. Change means an interruption in the revenue stream and that will always be a tough sell to agents of the government.

Change is upon us, whether we want it to be or not. In times past, Michigan was the agent of change. Our innovations were reported internationally and were imitated in every industrialized nation. Under Attorney General Frank Kelly we had the best consumer protections in the nation. Now, not so much. City Councilmembers, County Commissioners, elected officials at all levels of government can look to the Supreme Court’s rulings and understand that the old ways are dying and it is good to embrace the new.

Make decisions that make sense, and always allow compassion to guide your mind.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Steven Thompson January 15, 2013 at 01:47 AM
Wow, have we ever gotten way off of the subject at hand...our God-given right to grow & consume cannabis. Makes for interesting reading though! Dale,you crack me up man and I do mean that in a good way. Maybe someday you will see the truth and it shall set you free. Have you ever tried cannabis?
Romney2012 January 15, 2013 at 12:19 PM
Dale-- for you to tell me I have little knowledge of the law while trying to convince me pornography is a crime is laughable. Maybe you should send a map of the Playboy Mansion to the FBI so they can breakup the criminal porn enterprise. Dale-- for you to lecture me about sex crimes in Thailand is creepy. Have you "visited" Thailand before? Do you have photos of the working girls? Dale--don't take this the wrong way, but it is absolutely tragic that misinformed people like you are able to spew your lies and propaganda via blog postings. You are completely clueless and your only defense is gibberish. "Liberty vs. Libertine"? Gimme a break, Fake Freedom Lover. "The Libertine" is a Johnny Depp movie about a 18th Century aristocrat who loved Porn?!? I'm guessing you've seen that movie a few times;) Dale, I don't collect porn (or photos of prostitutes from the Netherlands like you) but I know Freedom of Speech allows Porn to exist. Dale, would the Tea Bagger in you like to see America's Freedom of Speech burn in flames, too?
Dale Murrish January 15, 2013 at 03:12 PM
Romney2012, there is such a thing as illegal pornography. That's what I meant by you having little knowledge of the law. No doubt you are far more learned in other areas of the law that I know little about. We all have our areas of expertise. Playboy (soft-core), Hustler (hard-core), etc. is legal pornography = writings, pictures, etc. intended primarily to arouse sexual desire. Hooters is fuzzy soft-core pornography. All pornography degrades women, treating them like objects instead of people. libertine = a man who leads an unrestrained, sexually immoral life, a rake, morally unrestrained, licentious liberty = freedom I've never been to Thailand, only read about the sex trafficking that happens there. I've heard of Johnny Depp but never seen any of his movies, preferring to watch positive messages rather than negative stuff. I believe in freedom of speech and will continue to write my opinions, which you term "lies and propaganda." You can call me all the names you want; it only reflects poorly on your character and makes you look silly. We are free to do the right thing, not the wrong thing. Liberty, not licentiousness.
Dale Murrish January 16, 2013 at 10:37 PM
Rereading this thread I should probably clarify what I meant by “all kinds of pictures like that” over the years. I meant interesting things in store windows, like the painting of all Republican Presidents from Lincoln to Ike to Reagan to Bush 41 & 43 playing cards I saw in Charleston last year. Also some outrageous Democrat campaign ads. I’ve never made money off any of them. Maybe I’ll publish some of those when the time is right on the Patch. I’m sorry some of you deliberately misread that as “creepy photos” and will be more careful next time. Romney2012, I disagree strongly with your theory about dressing prostitutes up like children to discourage pedophilia. If you legalize or legitimize perverse behavior you will get more of it, not less. Child pornography is illegal pornography, in case you didn’t know. Increasing pedophiles’ appetites for it by encouraging male or female prostitutes to dress like children sounds like a backdoor attempt to lower the age of consent – no doubt an objective of NAMBLA. Jerry Sandusky prevention and “helping society,” my foot! Pedophiles are the most despised of criminals in prison, sometimes needing protection from other inmates, and rightfully so. There is a reason why we have statutory rape laws; we need to keep them to protect vulnerable children, not weaken the protection by encouraging such behavior.
Rick Thompson January 16, 2013 at 11:30 PM
Dale, don't stop posting. Your opinion is important and this kind of dialog is what drives people to think outside the box. Agreement is not important, but the fair and uncensored sharing of ideas without ridicule is important. This is why I write these articles: to inspire debate, to inform the public, and to expose injustice. Having said that, I disagree with almost everything I read of yours. The Thiland references and the pornography comparison diminish your argument. Steven Thompson said it best (and he is a Reverend) that we fight to liberate cannabis to protect children; to ensure access to a medicine that was forcibly removed from the doctor's arsenal for political, not medical, reasons; and to assist in the resolution of this great nation's financial crisis and rise in violent crime. You suffer from the misunderstanding that time spent using cannabis is time wasted, illustrating your lack of experience on the subject. I look forward to your reply. Rick Thompson, unrepentant libertine

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