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Michigan Appeals Court Deals Blow to Cannabis Dispensaries

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Dispensaries in Michigan may be on their last legs after a state court of appeals effectively ruled that medical marijuana patients only can get their medicine by growing it themselves or from registered caregivers who are allowed to assist up to five patients.

The decision comes after two men who were charged with distributing medical marijuana appealed the plea deals they had reached, local broadcaster WOOD TV reported.

Michigan’s voter-approved medical cannabis law doesn’t say anything about dispensaries. So up until now different counties in Michigan have treated dispensaries in different ways.

In some counties, police have raided and shut dispensaries. In others, police have let dispensaries operate pending guidance from lawmakers or the courts. Earlier this month, city councilors in the state capital of Lansing passed a moratorium on new dispensaries, but allowed existing medical marijuana businesses to continue operating.

The men at the center of the Michigan Court of Appeals ruling can take their case to the state supreme court. But observers say their chances of winning are slim, WOOD reported.

Michigan is one of a handful of legal medical marijuana states where lawmakers have been unable to formulate a statewide regulatory system.

State House lawmakers recently passed a medical cannabis regulatory bill that is now being considered by their counterparts in the Senate.

Meanwhile, advocates of legalizing recreational marijuana in Michigan are scrambling to collect enough signatures to place a measure on the November ballot.