Michigan court: Law doesn’t allow pot sales

An appeals court has ruled that Michigan’s medical marijuana law doesn’t permit sales between registered patients.

The ruling, in a case that had been brought against a pot dispensary operated by owners legally allowed to possess and grow the drug, allows local authorities to close similar shops, Reuters reports.

According to the Associated Press:

Compassionate Apothecary, and owners of the mid-Michigan company, claimed they weren’t doing anything illegal because the law allows the “delivery” and “transfer” of marijuana. The business allows its 345 members to sell marijuana to each other, with the owners taking as much as a 20 percent cut. In less than three months, Compassionate Apothecary earned $21,000 before expenses after opening in May 2010.

“The ‘medical use’ of marijuana does not include patient-to-patient ‘sales’ of marijuana. Defendants, therefore, have no authority under the (law) to operate a marijuana dispensary that actively engages in and carries out patient-to-patient sales,” said appeals court judges Joel Hoekstra, Christopher Murray and Cynthia Diane Stephens.

“This ruling is a huge victory for public safety and Michigan communities struggling with an invasion of pot shops near their schools, homes and churches,” State Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a statement. “The court echoed the concerns of law enforcement, clarifying that this law is narrowly focused to help the seriously ill, not the creation of a marijuana free-for-all.”

Michigan is one of 16 states that, along with the District of Columbia, allow marijuana to be used to ease medical conditions. According to the South Bend Tribune, there are an estimated 200 to 300 marijuana dispensaries in Michigan serving the state’s 99,500 residents with medical marijuana cards.