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.

Useable Marihuana and Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Act

In People v. Mansour, defendant’s home was searched by police and an indoor marijuana grow operation was discovered in her basement. The grow consisted of 126 plants and approximately 550 grams of marijuana buds on a drying rack. Mansour was charged with 1 count of delivery or manufacture of marijuana and 1 count of delivery or manufacture of 20 or more marijuana plants. Defendant filed a motion to dismiss the charges based on her status as a registered medical marijuana patient, which allows her to be entitled to immunity under §4 of the MMMA.
This provision states that, “a qualifying patient…shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty….for the medical use of marijuana…provided that the qualifying patient possesses an amount of marijuana that does not exceed 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana.” MCL 333.26424(a)(emphasis added).
Under MCL 333.26423(n), “usable marijuana” includes the dried leaves and flowers of the marijuana plant, and any mixture or preparation thereof.” Defendant argued that the 550 grams of marijuana buds were “unusable” because they were not yet dry and therefore must be excluded when considering her claim of immunity under §4 of the MMMA.
Prosecution argued that the precedent of People v. Carruthers, 301 Mich App 590, 609; 837 NW2d 16 (2013), is controlling and that the court must look at the total amount of marijuana defendant was found in possession of, not just the amount of “usable” marijuana. In Carruthers, defendant was found to be possession of marijuana infused brownies which was not considered to be usable marijuana under the MMMA. The Court concluded that if a registered patient is in possession of any marijuana that is not considered usable marijuana then he or she possesses an amount that is in excess of the permitted amount of usable marijuana. Following this decision, the Legislature expanded the MMMA definition of usable marijuana, effective December 2016.
Defendant argued that People v. Manuel, 319 Mich App 291; 901 NW2d 118(2017), should be the controlling precedent of the Court which would limit the amount of marijuana defendant was found in possession of to only the usable marijuana. In Manual, the defendant was both a qualified patient and a primary caregiver which allowed him to be in possession of up to 15 ounces. The amount he was found to be in possession of exceeded 15 ounces, but defendant argued that the marijuana was in “various stages of drying” and therefore was unusable by definition. Id at 123. The Court held that due to the marijuana being unusable defendant was entitled to §4 immunity.
In this case the Court held to interpret §4 immunity as it did in Carruthers, utilizing a two prong test that asks, “whether a possessor of marijuana possesses an allowed quantity of usable marijuana” and further inquiries “whether that person possesses any quantity of marijuana that does not constitute usable marijuana under the term-of-art- definition of the MMMA.” Carruthers, 301 Mich App at 610. Based on this approach, a registered qualifying patient in possession of any amount of marijuana that does not qualify as usable marijuana is not entitled to immunity under §4 of the MMMA. Therefore, defendant is considered to be in possession of marijuana that is not usable so she is not entitled to §4 immunity.

Michigan’s laws on marijuana are constantly changing. Make sure you are not caught off guard and ensure your interests are represented by competent and experienced attorneys who actually know a thing or two about cannabis. Call the Michigan Cannabis Lawyers today at 517-512-8364.

Michigan Marijuana Microbusiness

Marihuana micro licensing is a type of licensing regulation utilized in states where the recreational use of marihuana has been legalized. Similar to microbreweries for the production and sale of alcohol, marihuana microbusinesses are independently owned businesses that grow, process and sell their own marihuana. By applying for a micro license, an individual 21 years of age or older may be allowed to grow, process, and sell marihuana to others 21 or older, with certain limitations placed on the quantity the micro licensee may grow and to whom they may sell their product.

In the state of Michigan, a proposed initiative called the Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marihuana Act (MRTMA) would allow an adult, 21 years of age or older, to apply for a license to operate a marihuana microbusiness. A microbusiness, as defined in MRTMA, allows an individual to operate a marihuana business cultivating not more than 150 plants, processing and packaging marihuana products made from plants they grew, and selling and transferring marihuana to individuals who are 21 years of age or older, but the licensee may not sell to or purchase from other marihuana establishments. Therefore, a licensee may not conduct business with another marihuana grower, processor, retailer, or any type of marihuana related business.

If you have been interested in getting into Michigan’s marihuana industry and are excited about a new sector of that industry, contact the lawyers who stay on the cutting edge.

Call the Michigan Cannabis Lawyers today at 517-512-8364.

Edible Marihuana Products

Today, Michigan announced that certain edible marihuana products are not fit for production under the state’s new regulations.

Some of the products that Michigan has decided not to allow include:

  1. Ice Cream
  2. Vegetable based jams and jellies
  3. Canned fruit or vegetable butters, such as apple butter
  4. Hummus
  5. Pies and cakes that require refrigeration
  6. Mike and dairy products

Some of the products that Michigan has decided to approve include:

  1. Cookies
  2. Breads
  3. Cakes
  4. Muffins
  5. Popcorn
  6. Granola
  7. Ground and roasted coffee
  8. Confections and sweets that are made without alcohol
  9. Fruit jams and jellies that can be stored at room temperature

The landscape of Michigan’s legal framework is constantly evolving. To get in touch with the attorneys that stay one step ahead, call the Michigan Cannabis Lawyers at 517-512-8364.

 

Deadline for Michigan Medical Marihuana Businesses

On August 9, 2018, the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation held a meeting to consider 25 applications for a medical marihuana facility license. On September 15, 2018, those businesses which are temporarily operating under Emergency Rule 19 will be forced to shut their doors unless they possess a valid operating license from the State of Michigan. At the conclusion of the meeting, 9 operating licenses were granted to various facilities. Although progress was made, Michigan citizens remain concerned about the potential lack of access to medical marihuana in the not too distant future. The Bureau of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs has repeatedly stated that the September 15, 2018 deadline will not be extended and that they anticipate reasonable access to medical marihuana across the state.

Here is a breakdown of the applications that were reviewed:
A. Pre-Qualification Applications
1. Applicant: DNVK Lapeer, Inc. File No: ERGA-17-000006; vote 5-0
2. Applicant: Harbor Farmz North, LLC, File No: ERGA-17-000015; vote 0-5.
3. Applicant: QPS Michigan Holdings, LLC, File No: ERGA-18-000062; vote 4-1.
4. Applicant: Amazing Budz, LLC, File No: ERGA-18-000068; vote 5-0
5. Applicant: MEM Gardens, LLC, File No: ERGA-18-000069; vote 5-0
6. Applicant: Green Labs, LLC, File No: ERGA-18-000111; vote 1-3
7. Applicant: Ann Arbor Provisioning Center, LLC, File No: ERGA-18-000135; vote 3-2
8. Applicant: TC MI AG, LLC, File No: ERGA-18-000275; vote 2-3
9. Applicant: TC MI MFG, LLC, File No: ERGA-18-000277; vote 0-5
10. Applicant: TC MI Ann Arbor 2, LLC, File No: ERGA-18-000497; vote 0-5
11. Applicant: Natural Caregivers, LLC, File No: ERGA-18-000170; vote 2-3
12. Applicant: Superior Cannabis Solutions, LLC, File No: ERGA-18-000179; vote 0-5
13. Applicant: LivWell Michigan, LLC dba LivWell Enlightened Health, File No: ERGA-18-000269; vote 5-0
14. Applicant: Holistic Research Group, Inc. File No: ERGA-18-000378; vote 0-5
15. Applicant: Great Lakes Natural Remedies, Inc. File No: ERGA-18-000452; vote 3-2

B. State Operating License Applications
1. Applicant: VB Chesaning, LLC, File No: ERGA-17-000024; vote 5-0
License(s): Processor, File No: PRA-18-000008 Prequalification status for a pending application granted on July 12, 2018
2. Applicant: Choice Labs, LLC, File No: ERGA-18-000039; vote 5-0
License(s): Provisioning Center, File No: PCA-18-000006 Prequalification status for a pending application granted on July 12, 2018
3. Applicant: Iron Laboratories, LLC, File No: ERGA-18-000138; vote 5-0
License(s): Safety Compliance Facility, File No: SCA-18-000003
4. Applicant: Brightmoore Gardens, LLC, File No: ERGA-18-000158; vote 2-3
License(s): Provisioning Center, File No: PCA-18-000023
5. Applicant: Blackrock Management, LLC dba 5 and Dime File No: ERGA-18- 000180; vote 4-1
License(s): Provisioning Center, File No: PCA-18-0000545 Prequalification status for a pending application granted on July 12, 2018
6. Applicant: Vendco Michigan, Inc. File No: ERGA-18-000191; vote 4-1
License(s): Provisioning Center, File No: PCA-18-000092
7. Applicant: Green Skies – Far West, LLC, File No: ERGA-18-000436; vote 4-1
License(s): Provisioning Center, File No: PCA-18-000098
8. Applicant: Green Skies –Hoover, LLC, File No: ERGA-18-000437; vote 4-1
License(s): Provisioning Center, File No: PCA-18-000099
9. Applicant: Green Skies – Healing Tree, LLC, File No: ERGA-18-000438; vote 4-1
License(s): Provisioning Center, File No: PCA-18-000100
10.Applicant: Precision Safety Innovation Laboratories, LLC dba PSI Labs, File No: ERGA-18-000466; vote 5-0
License(s): Safety Compliance Facility, File No: SCA-18-000005 Prequalification status for a pending application granted on July 12, 2018

LARA’s BMMR releases advisory bulletin on creation of THCa products.

August 10, 2018 – LARA released today an advisory bulletin on the topic of THCa “diamonds” – or isolate crystals – and their concerns with the safety of the creation process for these products. According to the BMMR, its observations of the creation process of THCa diamonds in Michigan raised safety concerns surrounding the cycle of pressurizing and venting containers to remove unwanted solvent gases during the THCa formation process.

BMMR stated today: “There is a significant potential for injury to persons, or damage to property, if an approved process is not followed. These gases must be released in a controlled and consistent manner, within a closed loop system, to capture released gases. Utilization of a hood system is not an acceptable means of controlling the flammable vapors.”

BMMR further states that applicants and licensed processors who utilize an unapproved method for creating THCa crystals could face sanctions, including, but not limited to, license denial, limitation, fines, revocation, suspension, nonrenewal, administrative holds, and orders to cease operations.

If you are an applicant for a processor license with questions about the compliance of your THCa SOP, contact one of our attorneys to schedule a consultation.

New Court Of Appeals Case Restricts The Availability of Caregivers to Assert an Immunity Defense Under Section 4 of the MMMA.

The Michigan Court of Appeals released a published opinion that defies logic and removes the availability of an immunity defense under section 4 of the MMMA (MCL 333.n26424) when caregivers possess unusable marihuana. What is unusable marihuana you ask? That would be any marijuana that doesn’t meet the definition of either marihuana plant or usable marihuana.  A marihuana plant is defined in MCL 333. 26423(g) and MCL 333.2642(j) as any cannabis plant that is living and either has viable roots or is in a growing medium.   Usable marijuana is defined in MCL 333.26424(n)  as the “the dried leaves, flowers, plant resin, or extract of the marihuana plant, but does not include the seeds, stalks, and roots of the plant”.  Based on these two definitions, unusable marihuana is essentially flower and leaf that is not dry.

This means that if patients or caregivers cultivate marihuana they will not be immune from arrest or prosecution under section 4 of the MMMA.  If law enforcements finds you in possession of undried and therefore unusable marihuana you can be arrested and prosecuted and will have to rely on the affirmative defense contained in section 8 of the MMMA (MCL 333.26428) in order to avoid a conviction.  A section 8 affirmative defense places the burden on the defendant to prove a valid defense.  If charged with a crime it will be your burden to prove to the court that you and your patients had  bona-fide patient physician relationships, that the marihuana possessed was a reasonable amount to prevent an uninterrupted supply, and that the marihuana was for medical use.  Since proving a defense in court can be difficult, it is important to hire an attorney who has experience presenting defenses under section 8 of the MMMA.  Call the Michigan Cannabis Lawyers at 517-512-8364 to talk about how this case will affect you and your grow.