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No Rush To Shut Down Medical Marijuana Shops

BURTON (AP) - It has been business as usual at some medical marijuana shops, even after the Michigan appeals court said card-carrying patients can't sell pot to other patients.

Some officials are in no rush to shut down dispensaries without a thorough investigation. In northern Michigan, the Otsego County prosecutor said he hopes the Michigan Supreme Court overturns the appeals court's decision.

In Burton, near Flint, a dispensary called The Barn closed briefly Wednesday but reopened Thursday, a day after the appeals court said patient-to-patient sales of marijuana are illegal.

"I don't have investigators who can go out and inspect what are called the dispensaries and see if they are in violation," Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton told The Flint Journal. "The only way I would be able to review any case ... is if any communities investigate it and bring me evidence that a dispensary is in violation."

Michigan voters in 2008 approved the use of marijuana to relieve pain and other chronic ailments. About 100,000 people have state-issued cards allowing them to have 2.5 ounces of "usable" pot and up to 12 plants. Registered caregivers also can grow marijuana for five people.

Some caregivers and people with medical marijuana cards have been selling extra marijuana to others who don't grow their own. It typically changes hands at dispensaries, with the owner taking a cut of the money. The appeals court, however, declared those sales illegal and said a Mount Pleasant dispensary could immediately be shut down as a "public nuisance."

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, who was thrilled with the decision, was speaking to prosecutors about it this weekend.

Burton Mayor Paula Zelenko said her city won't shut down four dispensaries but new ones won't be allowed to open. Flint's city attorney, Peter Bade, said he's taking his time with the issue.

"Do we currently have plans to start shutting dispensaries down? No. But we will look over the ruling to see if it causes us to take action," Bade said.

HydroWorld Marijuana Services in Jackson has stayed open.

"I'm not really worried about it. If the authorities come and tell us to shut down, we'll shut down," owner Danny Trevino told WLNS-TV.

In Battle Creek, Calhoun County Prosecutor Susan Mladenoff said she would discuss the issue with law enforcement agencies. Otsego County Prosecutor Kyle Legel said he hopes the Supreme Court "applies reason and logic" and reverses the appeals court. But he also warned local dispensaries and marijuana "collectives" that he must follow the law.

"I am sure it will be frustrating to not provide a needed service as those that relied on your business scramble to find a means to obtain the medical marijuana they need," Legel said. "But my recommendation is that you do not subject yourself to the possible penalties."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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