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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.

John David December 31, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Dale, the 2008 medical marijuana initiative, which you claim was de facto legalization, was approved by 63% to 37%. More than 3 million voters approved it. You have insisted that the will of the voters must be followed. You objected to the recall of Daniels for, among other reasons, she had been elected by a majority of voters, by a small margin. The voters of Michigan have spoken on medical marijuana, overwhelmingly. The state should be working to uphold the people's will. That's what elections are for.
Dale Murrish January 02, 2013 at 10:05 PM
A victimless crime that never hurt anybody? Possession of hemp and smoking it are two different things. If it doesn’t alter your state of consciousness why do it? Never mind impaired driving, which puts others’ lives at risk. Tell me what other harmless things go along with smoking pot, like decreased motivation, chromosome damage, a gateway to other more addictive, dangerous drugs, association with drug dealers, etc. and maybe I’ll be convinced. Daffy/Matt, nearly every law has morality in it. It’s called western civilization. What part of my morality DO you want? Laws against murder, rape, theft? Sounds like you really want anarchy – everyone doing what is right in their own mind. That only works in heaven, where there is no need for laws to restrain the evil in people’s hearts. All I’m doing is expressing an opinion against MJ legalization. If Rick succeeds in gathering enough signatures, I’ll be opposing it.
Dale Murrish January 02, 2013 at 10:07 PM
I was offered “space cakes” in an Amsterdam park in 1981 (said no thanks after finding out what they were brownies made with hashhish). Also went sightseeing in the red light district in daylight (window shopped only) and was chased by an angry “sex worker” who didn’t like me taking her picture through the store window. So I am not as naïve as you think, having been around the block a few times and seen a lot of things. Legalizing vices like marijuana, other drugs and prostitution does not improve people’s lives. It only encourages more drug addiction, disease and pimps. Making a vice legal and taxing it does not work. It’s been tried, and it only creates more problems. We have enough problems in our world without adding to them. Dank u wel, but no thanks!
Daffy Noodnicks January 02, 2013 at 11:17 PM
No I don't want anarchy. I don't want YOU imposing YOUR judgement of morality or vice on me, my family or society. I thought that was pretty clear. This is the 3rd time I said it. Your speech above exposes your ignorance and antiquated thinking on this topic. Once again I will ask for your source supporting all the awful things you say (chromosome damage, gateway, association)...
Steven Thompson January 02, 2013 at 11:28 PM
I'm 65 now,in good health,and STILL growin,smokin,and eating the herb...47 years now. So how does MY CHOICE to be natural, affect or hurt you Dale,or anyone else?? MY BODY...MY CHOICE!!
Dale Murrish January 03, 2013 at 10:46 PM
Good for you, Steven. I’m glad you didn’t have any of the bad outcomes some others have had. I’m a Christian too and believe in personal liberty. I love visiting Benzie County. But I also believe in everyone doing their best. How much more good could you have done for society if you hadn’t spent all that time, energy and fogged brain waves growing, smoking and eating the natural herb? We’ll obviously vote differently if it gets on the ballot. That’s what elections are for. Thanks for sharing your personal experiences.
Steven Thompson January 04, 2013 at 12:35 AM
Dale,I was a successful businessman,have given countless hours volunteering and still do,and my community loves me,accept maybe some Republicans. lol Guess we will just cancel-out each other's votes.
Aviva January 04, 2013 at 02:34 AM
Dale, who are you to judge Steven? Matthew 7:1-5 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."
Ardy January 04, 2013 at 03:07 AM
"I was offered “space cakes” in an Amsterdam park in 1981 (said no thanks after finding out what they were brownies made with hashhish). Also went sightseeing in the red light district in daylight (window shopped only) and was chased by an angry “sex worker” who didn’t like me taking her picture through the store window. So I am not as naïve as you think, having been around the block a few times and seen a lot of things." Yea, sure thing, buddy. I swear I've heard that line a billion times on the Internet from a bunch of different people over the years. Usually found in association with "... and I saw heroin addicts laying in the gutters in a pool of their own waste while needles dangled out of their veins as .... ". Hardly a unique experience nor a creditable one.
Ardy January 04, 2013 at 03:09 AM
"I’m a Christian too and believe in personal liberty." lol! You mean your version of personal liberty.
Dale Murrish January 08, 2013 at 10:48 PM
I’m not condemning Steven (a synonym for judging), just pointing out that there are bigger fish to fry than legalizing a recreational drug. Like defending religious liberty, the destruction of innocent human life, and protection of our written constitutional rights. I’ll bet a quarter that I’ve seen this passage quoted out of context more times than the “billions” of times Ardy has seen drug anecdotes on the internet. Jesus’ main point in the Sermon on the Mount was that we are all sinners in need of an advocate before the Judge of the universe when we die, namely Him as God in the flesh. Christians will be judged on how they spent their time and hear “well done, good and faithful servant” or “that was straw, not stone”, and those who try to earn their own way will be denied entrance, according to the Bible. Jesus was sent by the Father at Christmas, born of a virgin by the Holy Spirit, lived a sinless life and paid our debt of rebellion against our Creator on the cross for all who would place their trust in Him. http://troy.patch.com/blog_posts/silent-night-shepherds-first-made-it-known This section cautions listeners to be careful when judging others on a horizontal level, that the same standards they use on others will be applied to them. It doesn’t prohibit them from distinguishing between right and wrong if they are sitting on a jury, between good, better or best on how to spend their time or what causes to fight for.
Dale Murrish January 08, 2013 at 10:55 PM
Ardy, I have the picture I took of the painted lady in the storefront. Didn’t see any heroin addicts in the gutter or get a picture of the girl who offered me the space cakes (on a 6 picture a day budget). Would you like character references that I am known for telling the truth? I can give you plenty of those from people who know me. Steven and I will be voting differently. That’s the beauty of America – one person, one vote. America is still a free country. Steven pointed out that our votes on legalization of marijuana will cancel each other. He has the freedom to gather signatures and write comments. If you read my blog articles, I write on a variety of issues: history, travel, politics, religion and engineering. So far I’ve only seen legalizing marijuana from Rick Thompson. I’m sure he does other good things, too. I’m not condemning him either, just questioning whether the cause he and others are advocating for is the best one. Smoking pot is a vice, not a virtue, and it should be discouraged, not legalized.
Steven Thompson January 09, 2013 at 03:47 AM
Dale says: Like defending religious liberty, the destruction of innocent human life, and protection of our written constitutional rights. You just answered why folks like myself & Rick fight so hard against cannabis prohibition,with your own words Dale! We are defending our religious liberties...we are fighting against the destruction of innocent human life...we are fighting for the protection of our written constitutional rights! Cannabis prohibition violates all three!
Daffy Noodnicks January 09, 2013 at 02:18 PM
I see, so people taking medicine prescribed by a physician is a vice according to Dale. I wonder where his definition of vice stops. Do you think it's ok with him if a diabetic takes insulin? Or perhaps a person with a headache taking aspirin? How wonderful that we don't have to live by his labels and definitions, which have only to do with his personal ideology:
Dale Murrish January 12, 2013 at 04:34 PM
About Having a Judgmental Spirit “Judge not, so that you will not be judged. For according to that law you pass sentence on, you will be judged, and with whichever standard you measure, so it will be meted out to you. But why do you see the splinter in your brother’s eye and not take out the genuine log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Stop, I want to pull out the sliver from your eye?” and look, a beam is in your eye. You hypocrite, first pull the beam out of your eye; after that, look to how you can remove the fragment from your brother’s eye. You should not give what is holy to the dogs, and you should not throw your pearls before the wild boars, so that they do not trample them down with their feet and turn around and tear you up.” Matthew 7:1-6, new word-by-word translation from Martin Luther’s Bible, German Bible Society, to be published later this year with commentary on the Troy Patch. Maybe discussion of this would shed some more light on the subject Aviva brought up. Don’t know when I’ll get to the Sermon on the Mount but I plan to publish a chapter at a time with commentary a week later that people can talk about. My goal is to publish a chapter a month starting soon. Check my blog for more details. http://troy.patch.com/blog_posts/silent-night-shepherds-first-made-it-known I'd welcome some positive discussion from people from all over the state, so I hope Steven will weigh in with this opinions!
John David January 12, 2013 at 11:06 PM
Dale, You said to Steven: "How much more good could you have done for society if you hadn’t spent all that time, energy and fogged brain waves growing, smoking and eating the natural herb", Your statement to Steven was a condemnation of him. You said to him he could have done more for society if he had not grown and used marijuana. Your words are not ambiguous. You were not just pointing out that "there are bigger fish to fry" you were taking it upon yourself to point out what, in your own words, is a "wrong" and a vice, that he indulged in. Won't you be judged for objectifying women by seeking out a prostitute, a"sex worker" as you called her, and photographing her, then telling Ardy you've kept your picture of "the painted lady" after all this time? Why do you condemn Steven while possessing and touting your photo of a prostitute? I think that your photo is on the same "horizontal" level you describe. Do you not see the hypocricy, and that you deserved to be called out as Aviva did regarding judgement? Did you not fail to be "careful when judging others" when you judged Steven, yet used a prostitute in your own way? Won't the "same standards" be used for you for photographing a prostitute, one who you said chased you because she objected, and keeping the picture? Don't you think you need to stop telling others about what you see as their failings since you have failings just like theirs? .
Dale Murrish January 13, 2013 at 02:27 AM
Wow, that's a real stretch, John David! Keeping a picture of what I saw on public display in a store window for a souvenir is on the same level as growing and smoking pot? I've taken all kinds of pictures like that over the years. With reasoning like that, there is no evil in the world that is worth condemning.
Dale Murrish January 13, 2013 at 02:31 AM
I didn't say that smoking marijuana is evil. But if you carry your line of reasoning further, you can justify the evil perpetrated by Stalin, Mao and the North Korean despot who starves his own people while blackmailing the world with nuclear weapons. If you read the rest of what I wrote, I said there was judging between good, better and best on how to spend time. We can agree to disagree on things like MJ legalization. Steven and I will find common ground on other topics.
John David January 13, 2013 at 03:17 PM
Dale, Leave Stalin and Mao out of it. It is not a stretch that you indulged in vice in your own way. You don't see it as such, but you deliberately sought out a district of prostitution, you did so for your own personal entertainment as a tourist (you said in your January 2 post you were "sightseeing"), you photographed a prostitute, treating her like an animal in a zoo not as a fellow human, then you were chased by a prostitute, which means you must have run from her (and why run if you didn't know you had done something wrong), then you relate the story to show you "have been around the block a few times". You purposefully mistreat a fellow human being, a woman, who is engaged in a vice that you I am sure acknowledge is not victimless, and you keep a souvenir of what you did for 32 years. I don't think it's a stretch to equate your personal acts with those of anyone else who engages in a vice. But in your mind it seems that you are justified.
Dale Murrish January 13, 2013 at 10:58 PM
I did not make any money from this lady, who was being exploited by her pimp. I did not run away, just kept walking. Prostitution and pornography are not a victimless crimes. Pimps and customers are overwhelmingly men, exploiting the women. What was I to do, open the camera and give her the 35 mm film? Give me a break. There are degrees of evil. I do not consider my behavior wrong. Please at least admit that being a pimp is worse than being a prostitute, and that there would be no demand for prostitutes if men were faithful to their wives. Sure, I indulged in vice "in my own way" by sightseeing in the red light district. What man hasn't looked at something he shouldn't? I'm a sinner saved by the grace of my King, who died in my place. I've also been criticized in this same thread for being "too clean", and that you don't want any of my morality. So I'm judged either way by you, who tell me not to judge others with your faulty circular logic.
Romney2012 January 14, 2013 at 04:43 AM
Dale, you should research "victimless crime" AKA "consensual crime". Clearly you are not familiar with the concept. A victimless crime does not threaten or violate the rights of any other individual. Get it? Michigan courts have officially called selling pot a victimless crime because it hurts no one. No one lives in the "Land of the Free" if victimless actions are criminalized. FACT: The majority of inmates in Federal prison are incarcerated for victimless crimes such as drug possession. It's bankrupting our country and you for some reason you can't understand this.
Romney2012 January 14, 2013 at 04:50 AM
Dale, I think it would be better if you said, "We can agree to disagree on things like LIBERTY." That's what this is about. Liberty. Dale, How do you reconcile your tyrannical views of liberty with your Tea Party ethos?
Romney2012 January 14, 2013 at 04:52 AM
Dale-- are you saying pornography is a "crime"?
Romney2012 January 14, 2013 at 05:00 AM
Dale said: "Please at least admit that being a pimp is worse than being a prostitute, and that there would be no demand for prostitutes if men were faithful to their wives." Please at least admit Dale, prostitutes who dress up like children would decrease sexual predators like Jerry Sandusky from abusing innocent kids. Do you see how legalizing a consensual crime could help society? Dale, it sounds like you have a lot of creepy photos. why is it the deeply religious ones tend to be the freakiest?
Dale Murrish January 15, 2013 at 12:52 AM
You have a very active imagination and little knowledge of the law. Yes, there is such a thing as illegal pornography. Legal pornography degrades women and hurts the men who view it and the women who love them. Sex trafficking is a huge worldwide problem. It is not a victimless crime – women are the victims, enslaved by their pimps and abused for the pleasure of “sex tourists” – overwhelmingly men. In Thailand and other countries young girls are sold into the “sex industry.” Imagine a mannequin in a storefront. My “creepy” picture was of a fully clothed 30 year old lady and would be rated G. Maybe the Netherlands isn’t so bad; in Thailand young girls are worn out and disposed of long before that age. Liberty, not libertine. Look up the difference in the dictionary. People should be free to do the right thing, not take advantage of other people for their own pleasure. Based on your other Patch comments, I’m assuming you opposed Romney in 2012 and didn’t vote for him. Cute pseudonym.
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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