Victory for patients in Michigan Supreme Court

More than one third of the states have removed criminal penalties for the use of medical marijuana, which be can a uniquely effective treatment for a number of serious medical conditions. (For one powerful example, see this story about a cancer patient who is a former client of mine.)

Of course, because of the federal prohibition on marijuana, the drug exists in a legal grey area — allowed under state law but prohibited under federal law, meaning that federal authorities can arrest medical marijuana patients but state authorities in the states that have decriminalized cannot. The removal of state criminal penalties is significant, however, because most drug-law enforcement is carried out by state authorities; the feds simply don't have the resources to go after every drug user, and — DOJ has indicated — don't necessarily want to.

One legal question that has repeatedly arisen is whether state laws decriminalizing the drug are preempted by the federal laws banning it. Joining that debate today on the side of patients, the Supreme Court of Michigan (one of the states that has decriminalized medical marijuana) held that the federal ban does not preempt state decriminalization. This is an important victory for patients who rely on the drug for treatment, and — in the long run — for science. Permitting the states to continue their experiment with allowing medical marijuana will increase pressure on the federal government to reverse its longstanding, severe restrictions on research into the medical properties of marijuana, and we can move toward informed, science-based national policy about the drug and away from a blanket federal ban on medical uses — a ban based on fear rather than data.

0 thoughts on “Victory for patients in Michigan Supreme Court

  1. Ron Tschudy says:

    It is encouraging to see that in the Michigan Supreme Court political ideology does not ALWAYS trump good jurisprudence and common sense.

  2. (Mr) Laurie Norton says:

    I identify as a political liberal and, living in Colorado, I can tell you that I smoke grass. Still I have to wonder why it is that Arizona and other red states are not allowed to maintain their own immigration regulations, but Washington and Colorado get away with having their own marijuana laws? (I’m not complaining, mind you; just wondering!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *