An exposé in the search for truth regarding the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, and the convoluted efforts to upend patients’ rights
Part 4: Dispensaries, compassion centers
In some communities, dispensaries popped up in numbers after the Act went into effect. Some people have suggested that the actions on the part of dispensary operators played a major role in prompting our legislators to act, while others defend both their need, and their right to exist.
There is indeed a role for dispensaries to play as well as an identifiable need for the invaluable services they provide to patients. Realistically, how many of these types of businesses are necessary to accommodate the needs of those patients who have an inability to provide for themselves or who simply seek a much simpler method of access to their medicine of choice?
Advocates for the free market system would say the answer is this: as many dispensaries should exist as the market demands, and the rest will soon fade away on their own. Like always, quality of product, level of service and the market itself will determine the outcome. You either believe in an unfettered market system or you don’t. You can’t have it both ways.
This had been a period of finding what that level of supply would equate to and it certainly would have adjusted on its own had it been allowed to do so. However, at the present time, our Court of Appeals has rendered this a moot point.
The best way to address the issue of dispensaries is through legislation or an initiative targeting that matter independently. There is no need to fool with the MMMA and the protections it affords patients and caregivers in attempting to resolve the dispensary issue. While there has been a great deal of disagreement between the parties involved, the inevitable stalemate warrants further exploring this matter on its own merit rather than “painting with a broad brush.”
Many certified patients have shown through their patronage that getting their supply of medicine from dispensaries is the preferred method. They could acquire their medicine when neeeded, and in the limited quantity applicable to those personal needs. There was no fuss, no worries about exceeding the allowable amount and no knowledge in the art of growing safe medicine was required. Additionally, there were no equipment or materials to buy, and no costs to bear in operating such equipment.
For a large number of former dispensary patrons, their disabilities make it impossible to provide for their own needs and the availability of reliable caregivers to provide for them is often uncertain. Dispensaries were their only practical option. With the recent Court of Appeals ruling, those patients now feel helpless and at a loss as to how they should proceed from this point.
One MS sufferer and medical marijuana patient was recently quoted in the media saying, "I can't grow it myself because I can't get out of this chair."
The move to close down dispensaries by AG Schuette and his band of bullies was a direct personal assault on people such as this, who are the most vulnerable, and have a genuine need for this type of distribution system.
Could some operators of medical cannabis facilities as well as those who promote and facilitate the use of this natural alternative have used more discretion? That’s very likely so.
While the general public has shown a willingness to embrace the medical use of cannabis products, still the topic of cannabis remains a sensitive one for many, including many of those who continue to support the idea in principle.