Medical pot dispensaries in Lansing like Kind Provisioning Center are largely left alone.(Photo: Michael Gerstein / The Detroit News)Buy Photo
Lansing— The road to the Michigan Capitol is lined with marijuana.
It’s almost impossible to drive to the capital dome without seeing scores of shop signs emblazoned with bright green medical crosses and plucky names — BudzRUs, TruReleaf, Best Buds, Kind Provisioning Center — all along Michigan Avenue and the city at large. A constant stream of people filter in and out of the pot shops.
In major cities such as Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Lansing and Flint, medical marijuana dispensaries are largely left alone.
In other areas, however, police follow federal and state law, in effect treating medical marijuana as an illegal narcotic and a public safety issue. Regional state police drug teams have raided and closed dispensaries with the help of county prosecutors across the state, including in Grand Traverse, Kent, Oscoda, Otsego, St. Clair and Wexford counties.
This unequal treatment occurs as Michigan implements new regulations on everything the industry does, from growing to transporting to selling. On Dec. 15, those trying to get into or stay in business can submit applications for an official state license.
It has been unclear since voters approved a 2008 referendum allowing marijuana for medical use what the state’s law actually permitted. In 2013, the Michigan Supreme Court decided that dispensaries are illegal.
But the ruling has left some communities without local access to medical pot while others have a glut. Still others face legal fees and prison.
“I’ve shed tears over this. This has never been about money for me,” said Chad Morrow, a 39-year-old Gaylord resident and former dispensary owner facing up to seven years in prison. “To have that taken away — it’s