Michigan Marijuana Micro-License

The newly enacted law which legalized recreational marijuana in Michigan allows for individuals with marijuana related felonies the opportunity to apply for licenses to operate marijuana businesses. Section 8.1, subsection c, of the new marijuana statue states, “a prior conviction solely for a marijuana related offense does not disqualify an individual who is otherwise eligible for licensure, unless the offense involved distribution of a controlled substance to a minor.” Those that were precluded from obtaining a medical marijuana facility license may now have a path to operate a commercial recreational marijuana facility under the laws recently passed by voter initiative. If you have a prior marijuana related felony and want to know more about applying for a micro business license or any other type of license for recreational marijuana, call the Michigan Cannabis Lawyers at (517) 512-8364.

How Michigan Prosecutors are Dealing with the Legalization of Marijuana

After Michigan decided to legalize recreational marijuana on November 6, 218, several county prosecutors across Michigan have started dismissing cases involving marijuana. Oakland County prosecutors have already tossed various cases with pending charges in the district and circuit court systems. Also, Muskegon County prosecutors have dismissed all pending marijuana cases that comply with the requirements of the recently passed proposal. Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and Calhoun County have also followed suit. While there are still avenues to violating the law, prosecuting offices have been considering what they will do with pending cases involving use, possession, manufacture or delivery.

Clare County prosecutors have plans to dismiss several pending cases limited to possession charges, whereas Kent County is looking into dismissing cases that involve use or possession of marijuana. Most dismissals are based on a case by case basis. In Ingham county, while magistrates are no longer accepting warrant requests for marijuana related crimes, the cases already pending are being looked at closely before being dismissed.

Some counties are not being as lenient however. In Wayne County, a prosecutor has stated that her office is committed to following the law regarding the prosecution of marijuana cases. Additionally, Wexford County is choosing not to dismiss pending cases of any sort. While pending cases are more likely to be dismissed at this time several counties are considering what to do regarding applying the new marijuana statute retroactively to cases that have already been prosecuted.

If you have a pending marijuana charge and want to better understand how the legalization of recreational marijuana will affect your current situation, you need a lawyer that understands Michigan marijuana law. Call the Michigan Cannabis Lawyers at (517) 512-8364.

Michigan Medical Marihuana Criminal Law: Section 8 Affirmative Defense

A registered primary caregiver was charged with manufacturing 20 or more but fewer than 200 marijuana plants, possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony and possessing with intent to deliver 5 kilograms or more but less than 45 kilograms of marihuana. Those are some pretty serious charges. A §8 defense was raised by defendant but the trial court did not allow him to present his affirmative defense at trial. The trial court determined that defendant did not satisfy his burden of presenting prima facie evidence for each element of §8 of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA). The element at issue was the existence of a bona fide physician-patient relationship.

Section 8 states that a primary caregiver has the burden of establishing by prima facie evidence the elements of subsection (a)(1) for each patient to whom the primary caregiver is alleged to have unlawfully provided marihuana. The Supreme Court in People v. Hartwick reduced the requirements of (a)(1) into three elements:
1. The existence of a bona fide physician-patient relationship,
2. In which the physician completes a full assessment of the patient’s medical history and current medical condition, and
3. From which results the physician’s professional opinion that the patient has a debilitating medical condition and will likely benefit from the medical use of marijuana to treat the medical condition.

Defendant and his registered qualifying patients testified about their interactions with a Dr. Kattoo. The Court found that only one patient was able provide evidence to support a bona fide physician-patient relationship. The Court noted that no actual medical records or testimony from  certifying physicians was admitted into evidence. “Without the showing of records the trial court could not determine whether records were created and maintained in accordance with medically-accepted standards.”

A Section 8 defense to a crime involving marijuana is no easy task. Call the Michigan Cannabis Lawyers at 517-512-8364 to speak to a cannabis warrior.

Medical Marijuana and Alimony / Spousal Support

In Beauchamp v. Beauchamp, the trial court awarded defendant his medical marijuana grow operation as part of the marital assets and awarded plaintiff spousal support based on consideration of the income defendant received for the sale of medical marijuana to his qualified patients. The Court of Appeals affirmed on Defendant’s . For most of the parties’ marriage, defendant’s primary occupation was operating his drywall business. After battling lung cancer in 2014, defendant was unable to work full time doing drywall and by the summer of that year his primary focus was on his marijuana grow operation. He became a registered caregiver for five qualified patients. Plaintiff suspected he was selling to others outside of his five patients. Plaintiff subsequently filed for divorce June 2016.

The trial court considered the grow operation to be part of the marital assets because defendant began the operation during the marriage and used funds from the marriage to start the project. When determining the amount of spousal support to be awarded, the defendant’s income was considered to be a combination of his average income derived from the drywall business and from the medical marijuana grow respectively. Between 2015 and 2017 the court concluded that defendant made $15,300 per year from his drywall business and $120,000 a year from the grow operation. Defendant argued that legally he is unable to profit from the growth and sale of marijuana under the MMMA. The Court of Appeals denied this argument considering the unique circumstances of the case and the trial court’s attempt to balance the entirety of the parties’ incomes in a just and reasonable manner. Additionally, defendant admitted to receiving funds in excess of what was necessary to make up for the costs he accumulated in maintaining his grow operation and he would keep the surplus for his personal use.

The Court of Appeals ruled that the lower court was correct in considering the marijuana grow operation to be part of the marital assets due to the income it brought to the family while plaintiff and defendant were still married, and that the $1,900 per month spousal support payment does not fall within the range of unreasonableness given the calculations of defendant’s income.

Understanding how the MMMA intersects with and impacts the appropriation of assets in a divorce can be complicated. Call the Michigan Cannabis Lawyers to ensure your rights are protected.