What if I told you that you were allowed to have a business for several years and were paying several employees and then one day, you were told that in 10 weeks or less you would have to stop your business? That is potentially the message that the state of Michigan is sending to those that are operating medical marijuana dispensaries in the state of Michigan and for many of these business owners, the unknown is the worst part. As one anonymous owner has been quoted saying, “If we cannot distribute cannabis legally we will be left to enter the “Black Market” and that is not going to be good for anybody.”
With the Michigan Medical Marijuana Board leaning to the far right politically, there is a belief that all of these businesses that have been given the greenlight from the state of Michigan to run operate appear to be on borrowed time. The most outspoken member of the board is Donald Bailey whom has publicly stated, “Every dispensary that's out there right now is open in violation of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.” The position of Bailey is that the federal law will preempt the state and due to this, the marijuana plant should be outlawed once and for all. These sentiments have sent shockwaves throughout the state of Michigan and their business owners because the uncertainly has evolved to an all-time high. Donna Frankel, a medical marijuana patient with 3rd stage cancer was very outspoken when we spoke with her. Frankel stated, “I’m a senior citizen that has paid both federal and state taxes for over 4 decades. The only thing that provides relief is the cannabis that I legally purchase in our state. The state took my money when I made an application for my card and now they may want to leave me out there with no solution to my pain. I will purchase cannabis illegally if I cannot buy it legally. I deserve the right to have a decent quality of life!!!”
One of the top civil litigators in the state is Matthew McManus whom practices law in Ann Arbor, Michigan. McManus weighed in on the topic when he stated, “There was a process that went into effect when these patients became “legal” in the state of Michigan. There were hoops to jump through and money to be paid. The state reaped the benefits of this and now it appears with licensure on the horizon, the state may be looking for an economic windfall but there could be a lot of carnage along the way. If there is no solution other than a shutdown, the marijuana industry within the state of Michigan can look like the “Wild West” and this could be a problem for all of us.”
If there is a massive shutdown of dispensaries, there are a number of factors to take into consideration. The violation of federal law needs to be balanced against the loss of jobs, the increase of the “Black Market” and the harm that could be caused to those that are not reliant on cannabis for documented medical conditions and most importantly, if the state of Michigan has been allowing this to go on for such a long time, why would they feel to need to enforce the laws that have relaxed? William Amadeo is a partner at Ann Arbor Legal in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Amadeo is also an Associate Attorney for Grabel and Associates. Aside from his legal duties, Amadeo owns and operates BAT Tutoring in Lansing, Michigan and is a contributing writer for “The Chronicle News” which has both a paper and online presence. Amadeo can be reached at: Williamamadeo@Grabellaw.com.