The beleaguered medical marijuana state of Michigan received some long overdue good news on Wednesday after an Oakland County judge dismissed drug conspiracy charges against seven defendants who operated a Ferndale medical marijuana dispensary. (Ferndale is a small, predominantly residential town, part of the greater Detroit metropolitan area).

The seven defendants had been busted in August 2010 when Ferndale P.D raided their dispensary, Clinical Relief, as part of a coordinated effort with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Dept drug squad in which undercover agents made purchases of legal medicine using what later proved to be forged documents. 

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Circuit Court Judge Daniel O’Brien agreed with the defense’s argument that the operators of Clinical Relief believed they were acting in full compliance with the 2008 law that legalized medical cannabis in Michigan, and that there was no criminal intent on the part of the dispensary operators.

Not helping the prosecution’s case was the admission by officers with the Oakland County Narcotics Enforcement Team that they stooped to forge state medical marijuana cards in order to be admitted into Clinical Relief.  

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Judge O’Brien’s ruling is all the more significant because this is the first case in Michigan involving criminal prosecution of a medicinal cannabis dispensary and it flies in the face of a 2010 state Appeals Court ruling that dispensaries were not covered by the 2008 law.

In related news, on Thursday the Michigan Supreme Court began its review of a case that will determine if the Michigan medical marijuana law can protect defendants arrested on drug charges.