Medical Marijuana Debate Heats Up Again in West Michigan

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750px-MarijuanaGRAND RAPIDS, Mich.- The medical marijuana debate is heating up again in West Michigan with prosecutors, judges, and police still trying to determine the ramifications of the Medical Marijuana Act passed by Michigan voters in 2008.

This week, one of the men leading the fight, the founder of the Mid-Michigan Compassion Club in Grand Rapids, was back in court.  That’s when a Kent County judge ruled what police would call a dispensary and what the founder calls a club could remain open.  It was also ruled founder David Overholt couldn’t go within 100 feet of it.

Overholt’s upcoming trial on marijuana charges could set a new legal precedent for medical marijuana in Michigan.

Assistant Muskegon County Prosecutor Brett Gardner explained that the current precedent of State vs. McQueen ruled that patient-to-patient transfers or caregiver-to-patient transfers of marijuana were in violation of the Medical Marijuana Act.  “Caregivers under the law have five patients that they can supply marijuana to,” Gardner said. “If they go beyond that five and supply it to anyone who is not their registered patients, then they open themselves up for not only civil action for a public nuisance but potential criminal charges.”

Overholt argues the ruling was only patient-to-patient specific. “If a caregiver and a caregiver are working together, they’re both legal Michigan caregivers licensed by the state, then the law already tells you that you are immune to prosecution,” Overholt says.

He is challenging charges against hime and says he is fully ready to go to trial, because, if not, the world of medical marijuana cannot survive, he says.

“Without the ability to exchange with other caregivers and to keep enough meds, usable meds, and quality meds in front of their patients, I think the system is doomed to fail,” he said.

One thing both men agree on is that the medical marijuana act is hazy, leaving room for questions and legal interpretation.

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  • David Kaplan

    It's tragic that Brett Gardner lacks the capacity to understand the will of the people. The people of Muskegon should be embarrassed to have a fool wasting tax dollars on something like this and should demand his resignation immediately.

  • amy

    Lastnight on Grand Rapids news – " The new marijuana law in gr is not making the courts any money " get a grip people, its all about the money ! not sick people or people that like to smoke the stuff ! MONEY,MONEY ,MONEY, MONEY !!!!!!!!!! can GRand Rapids say "MONEY"

  • Sue

    Good luck Dave! I am proud that you are standing your ground and not coping a plea like the other 90% . If people are going to get into mmj, they better have the bank account and gumption to go all of the way or stay the heck out of the way and don't ruin it for others by running with your tail between your legs and plea bargaining.

  • citizen of Grand Rapids

    I’d like to know how much money we are wasting on this lawsuit against Mr.Overholt.

    Grand Rapids wasting tax payer dollars once again !

    • Sue

      The only thing the city paid for was the initial arrest. This is all State of Michigan expenses now. I am sure you can send a Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) to the State and get records of the actual expenses.