But Michigan activists said the election wouldn’t slow their efforts to expand patient access to the drug and to legalize it for recreational use in Detroit. Michigan Attorney General-elect Bill Schuette, long a foe of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, even gave activists hope that he might help their cause.
Although Schuette said Friday that the law was as bad as he’d predicted, he stopped short of agreeing with Oakland County authorities who have arrested patients linked to dispensaries — shops that sell medical marijuana. Dispensaries are allowed in the medical marijuana laws of seven states but not mentioned in Michigan’s law and thus are illegal, Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper said this week.
But Schuette said Michigan’s law “never prohibited them.” He said he warned in 2008, when the act was debated, that dispensaries would crop up if it passed. “Now we’ve seen them emerge because it’s a poorly crafted law,” he said.
Asked whether he’d issue an opinion allowing dispensaries, he said: “I’m going to wait for that issue to occur. Remember, I’m not attorney general yet.”
Before the election, marijuana activists e-mailed and held marches in Ann Arbor and Lansing to voice their fears, particularly about Schuette, Detroit lawyer Matt Abel said. Yet, Schuette “might not be the enemy we thought he’d be,” after activists digging on the Internet found old speeches in which Schuette said the wording of the state law would allow dispensaries, Abel said.
Activists want an attorney general who will “clarify the law and see that implementation protects patients,” he said.
Medical marijuana patient Dondi Meitz, 46, of White Lake Township said Michigan “has a pretty good law, and I really don’t think Schuette’s going to mess with it.” Meitz, who has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, heads the Brighton Area Compassion Club.
The leader of an effort to legalize small amounts of marijuana in Detroit for recreational use said he’s still determined to get the measure on the ballot.
Tim Beck, a Detroiter and heath insurance executive, helped gather more than 7,000 signatures, but the proposal was kept off Tuesday’s ballot by the Detroit Board of Elections. Beck said Friday that his group would continue fighting the decision in the Michigan Court of Appeals, with a decision expected in 2011.
For a GOP-led Legislature to repeal the marijuana act would require a three-quarter super-majority in both houses.