We have a follow-up for you on a story we brought you last week.
On Friday, ABC 10 News Now senior reporter Mike Hoey spoke with the Marquette Medical Marihuana Registration Center.
The clinic helps patients who want to sign up for the medical marijuana program that voters approved a year and a half ago.
Staff at the center told Mike about a new group called the Marquette County Cannabis Co-Operative.
The group is planning to open a sister facility to the center soon, and Mike has that story tonight.
It’s a medical marijuana wellness center, and it should be coming to the Marquette area in the near future.
The clinic refers all its patients to an area attorney.
Brian Bloch of the Lake Superior Legal Center says the wellness center will have information that the clinic doesn’t have — like how to legally cultivate and use the drug.
Bloch says the center won’t involve any selling of marijuana, even to legally licensed patients or caregivers.
Registration clinic manager Dave Guizzetti says there’s a need for a companion facility.
He says the most common question that patients at the clinic have is how they can legally get the drug once they obtain their license.
You have to either grow it for yourself or have a designated caregiver grow it for you.
And that’s presuming you’ve already received a $300 medical marijuana certification from a doctor, applied for the state license and received it.
Bloch says the site for the center has already been picked out, but because one of the center’s goals is to safeguard patients’ privacy, he wouldn’t say where it is.
The co-op is almost ready for its first public meeting.
If you go to Dead River Coffee in Marquette at 7 Thursday night, you can find out any information you might want about both the co-op and the wellness center.
The program has been a learning experience for local law enforcement.
They don’t administer the medical marijuana law — the Michigan Department of Community Health does.
Det. Capt. Gordon Warchock of the Marquette Police says while they’ve been learning as they go, the program hasn’t presented any unforeseen issues or challenges to them.
THE PROGRAM HAS BEEN A LEARNING EXPERIENCE FOR LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT.
THEY DON’T ADMINISTER THE MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAW.
THE MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY HEALTH DOES.
But even a state license isn’t blanket protection from marijuana prosecution.
Bloch says the right in Michigan to be a medical marijuana patient or caregiver means nothing to federal authorities because marijuana possession or use is a federal crime, regardless of the reason.
The Obama administration has told the Justice Department to not pursue people involved in activities which violate federal law but which are legal in their own home state.
Michigan medical marijuana is one of those activities.
But Bloch says the Justice Department could change its mind at any time.