Is Cannabidiol (CBD) Marijuana?

Is CBD marijuana?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the cannabinoids found in marijuana.  Over the last few years CBD has dramatically increased in popularity to treat a wide variety of ailments.  CBD has been attributed to helping those that suffer from chronic pain, epilepsy and several other disorders and diseases.   CBD is often used in place of the more well known THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) because CBD doesn’t possess the psychoactive effects commonly associated with THC.  Because CBD doesn’t have the psychoactive effects of THC and because it is often associated with hemp, CBD products have recently become readily available at health food stores, gas stations, pet stores, grocers and through reputable online shops such as amazon.

The acceptance that CBD products have had in the mainstream market has been noticed by Michigan’s Department of Licensing And Regulatory Affairs (LARA) and just last week they issued an advisory bulletin stating in part that “the possession, purchase, or sale of marihuana or any marihuana product – including CBD – must be done in compliance with the MMMA and MMFLA.”  LARA came to this decision by analyzing the current definition of marijuana contained in the public health code (MCL 333.7106).  Marijuana is currently defined as:

all parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., growing or not; the seeds of that plant; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant or its seeds or resin. Marihuana does not include the mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced from the stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the mature stalks, except the resin extracted from those stalks, fiber, oil, or cake, or any sterilized seed of the plant that is incapable of germination. Marihuana does not include industrial hemp grown or cultivated, or both, for research purposes under the industrial hemp research act.

This definition clearly does not include the mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced from stalks, oil or cake made from seeds of the plant, and any other compound made from the mature stalks.  Also excluded by definition is industrial hemp grown or cultivated under the industrial hemp research act. (IHRA) To determine that CBD is and always is marijuana, LARA had to first determine that cannabinoids are not found in the seeds or stalks of the marijuana plant as substance derived from seed or stalk of the marijuana plant could be excluded under the definition of marijuana in MCL 333.7106.   LARA then looked to the industrial hemp research act and determined that IHRA does not allow for the sale or transfer of hemp.  So, according to LARA all CBD tranactions must be ddone under either the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMA) or the Marihuana Facility Licensing Act (MMFLA).

If you have any questions regarding CBD and its legality please call the Michigan Cannabis Attorneys at The Covert Law Firm.  517-512-8364.

 

CBD

CBD

 

Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulations Extends Deadline for Provisioning Centers Temporarily Operating While Their Application is Pending

May 30, 2018

The department of Licensing And Regulatory Affairs (LARA) issued new emergency rules through the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulations (BMMR), that will help ensure medical marihuana patients will continue to have safe access to their medicine.  The previous emergency rules would have required all currently operating medical marihuana facilities to close and cease operations if they had not received a state license by June 15 2018.  This has been a concern for many patients and caregivers across the state as the BMMR and the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board (MMLB)  have yet to approve any state licenses.  It certainly seemed that without new emergency rules or some other intervention,  medical marihuana patients and caregivers that rely on provisioning centers would be left without safe access to their much needed medicine.   Luckily, Governor Snyder signed the new emergency rules which amends Rule 19 and now extends the deadline for licensure approval to September 15th.

Rule 19 now allows for those provisioning centers that were currently operating and had sent in MMFLA applications to the BMMR by February 15th to remain operating temporarily until either they are denied a license or September 15th of 2018.  There is still some concern regarding temporary operation, as some board members have made statements about the legality of those who have previously operated without a license, and LARA in the press release announcing the new deadline for temporary operation stated, “Ultimately, licensure decisions will be made by the members of the MMLB, who may choose to consider unlicensed activity as part of the licensing criteria when deliberating on the overall application. Until a license is received from the state, the operation of a proposed medical marihuana facility should be considered a business risk by the operator”.

While the new emergency rules are good news for patients and those currently operating, it does little to speed up the licensing process and there is still no guarantee that any licenses will be issued by September 15th.  Even if some licenses are issued, will there be enough licenses issued by the MMLB to cover patients and caregivers in each of the 63 municipalities that have opted into allowing provisioning centers under the MMFLA?  It appears that LARA is working hard to accommodate patients by extending the deadline but isn’t taking the necessary steps to speed up the application process.  If you have any questions involving the application process under the MMFLA or any recent announcements by the BMMR please call the Michigan Cannabis Lawyers at the Covert Law Firm at 517-512-8364.

driving under the influence of marijuana MICannabislawyers.com

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana In Michigan

Those who have no legal right to possess or consume marihuana face what’s commonly referred to as Michigan’s “zero tolerance” law, meaning that a prosecutor only needs to prove that at the time of driving, you had the presence of THC in your system, regardless of your driving performance.

It’s important to note, however, that the Michigan Supreme Court, in People v. Feezel, No. 138031 (June 9, 2010), determined that 11-carboxy-THC, a metabolite of THC, is not counted against you for the “zero tolerance” law. Currently, the detection threshold at the Michigan State Police Toxicology Unit is one ng/ml of THC. That’s one billionth of a gram of active THC per milliliter of blood.

Interestingly, if you have a medical marihuana card, it must be shown that you were driving under the influence of marijuana to be convicted of operating while intoxicated or “drugged driving.”

Section 7 of the MMMA outlines the specific limitations in which a patient or caregiver will fall outside the framework and not be afforded legal protection under the MMMA. MCL 333.26427(4) states that the Medical Marihuana Act does not permit any person to, “operate, navigate, or be in actual physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft, snowmobile, off-road recreational vehicle, or motorboat while under the influence of marihuana.” While some states have developed internal limits of THC for patients while driving, Michigan has yet to impose a nanogram limit for internal possession of marihuana while driving for medical marihuana patients. So, the only way a patient can be convicted of driving under the influence of marihuana is to show that one’s driving ability was substantially lessened because of the presence of THC in their system.

If you happen to find yourself having to deal with a criminal charge for driving under the influence of marijuana, don’t hesitate to reach out to ask some questions and talk about your case.

 

Convictions under the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code remain on your criminal history indefinitely, and you shouldn’t go down without a fight.

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

Cannabis Attorney Joshua Covert debates Missaukee County Sheriff Jim Bosscher On Legalization

On March 23, 2018 The Cadillac News published an editorial regarding the legalization of marijuana in Michigan.  The editorial featured an anti legalization piece written by Missaukee County Sheriff Jim Bosscher and a pro legalization piece written by Michigan Cannabis Lawyer Joshua Covert.  The editorial written by Mr. Bosscher contained mostly outlandish claims backed up by  references to:  “The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact, Volume 5″,  which was complied in October 2017, by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.  This report according to a forbes.com article  contains “indictments masquerading as objective assessments”  and is referred to as “dishonest”.  Further,  the report seems to ignore its own footnotes when reaching conclusions  and the reports executive summary stated that “the information here should be interpreted with caution”.  John Hudak a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Brooking Institute called the report “garbage” in a Denver post article.

Mr. Coverts editorial contradicted many of Mr. Bosscher’s claims and Mr. Covert cited to various reputable studies to do so such as the 2018 study published by the American Medical Association which concluded that those states with legal access to marijuana have lower opiate prescription rates.  Mr. Covert also mentioned a poll conducted by the Colorado Department of Public Health which showed that teen marijuana use is down since legalization began,  the study also mentioned that Colorado has  lower teen use then the national average.

It is good to see that the debate about legalization is heating up and that mainstream media is covering the topic.  It is easy to see though that there is really no debate needed as voters overwhelmingly support legalization and the opposition has to rely on a single biased study that has been called “garbage” by the Brookings Institue.  Expect this topic to gain more traction in the media as it will be up to voters to decide in November of 2018 as the CRMLA (Committee to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol) ballot proposal is headed to the ballot.

More Prequalification Approvals but Contradictory Statements from The Board at Today’s Meeting Cause Concern

Thursday May 3rd the Michigan Marijuana Facilities Licensing Board met and approved all three of the pre-qualification applications that were presented. Two of the applications passed unanimously and the other passed on by a 4-1 vote with Pickard being the only vote for denial. This would be the only board meeting so far where all the applications presented were approved by the board. The public comment portion of the meeting consisted of several individuals expressing concern over the boards’ ability to meet the June 15th deadline (see advisory bulletin) to approve or deny those applications submitted by businesses currently operating. If the pending applications are not fully approved by the June 15th deadline, all currently operating businesses will be forced to shut down preventing patients across the state of Michigan from obtaining medicine.

This is not good news for medical marijuana patients who rely on provisioning centers to provide them with access to medicine. Near the close of the meeting, the board was offered an opportunity to make comments.  One of the board members stated that those applicants who are not currently operating were at a competitive disadvantage.  Then the board member then went on to mention that this is all really about money. Seconds later in what was a strange turn of events, the same board member then went on to say “this is for the patients” and repeated it several times.

If the board members are truly concerned about the patients they will work with LARA (Licensing And Regulatory Affairs) and the BMMR (Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulations) to ensure those businesses who are currently operating and have made a good faith effort to obtain a license should not be forced to shut down on June 15th because of the State’s deficiency in approving licenses in a timely fashion. So I pose a question to the entire board: why bring up money and competitive disadvantage when discussing what is in the patients’ best interest? State Board will you, for the patients, set aside any interests or concerns regarding money and competitive disadvantage and do what’s right by ensuring they have consistent safe access to medical marihuana?

Marijuana Versus the Opiod Epidemic

Illinois Senate Bill 336 was passed by a staggering 44-6 vote. The measure is intended to allow flexibility in obtaining a medical marihuana in the state of Illinois by recognizing the use of cannabis as medicine in the fight against the opiod crisis.

As amended, the bill allows persons with an active prescription for opiods to have legal access to medical marihuana as an alternative medicinal option for palliative relief. Persons who qualify will also be able to apply for a medical marihuana card. The medical marijuana program in Illinois is rather restrictive in terms of qualified applicants. Currently, Illinois has issued approximately 30,000 cards to its residents.

The expansion and formal recognition of the use of marijuana as medicine in Illinois something to take note of as many states continue to progress in their efforts to regulate medical marihuana. The bill heads to the House for approval.

Illinois is not the only state seeking to expand the availability of medical marihuana. Michigan has introduced a list of 22 proposed medical conditions to be added and recognized under the Medical Marihuana Act as qualifying conditions. The list includes anxiety, depression, diabetes, panic attacks, and a myriad of other medical conditions for approval consideration. The Review Panel is scheduled to make their recommendations to the Department Director at a public meeting on May 4, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan.

For those who are committed to staying up-to-date on Michigan’s marijuana laws, call (517) 512-8364 to contact the Michigan Cannabis Lawyers.

 

Local Ordinances and the Medical Marijuana

This case is a court of appeals case in which a conflict between a local ordinances and medical marijuana laws were at issue. The Charter Township of York ordinance was found to have violated the protections provided by the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act(MMMA). The Charter Township of York started the legal proceedings by seeking a declaratory judgment which would have prevented the Defendants from growing their medical marihuana because it violated the local home occupation ordinance and the local ordinance regulating medical marihuana grows.
The issues the Charter Township of York had with the marihuana grow are that it violated the home occupation ordinance because the registered caregiver (the person possessing and cultivating the marijuana plants) did not live at the address and the grow was an outdoor building and not attached to the main residence. These were both violations of the home occupation ordinance. Further, the Charter Township of York also had passed a local ordinance to regulate medical marihuana caregivers. This ordinance did not allow outdoor grows and required all necessary permits to be obtained.
The trial court did not grant the declaratory judgement and held that the local ordinance directly conflicted the MMMA. This meant that the local ordinances as applied in this case were not applicable to local residents who were registered qualifying caregivers under the MMMA.
The Charter Township of York appeal this decision to the Michigan Court of appeals and argued that the zoning law “permitted it to regulate medical marijuana and restrict registered caregivers’ marijuana growing to indoors in areas zoned residential” Charter Township of York v. Miller, 335344, 2018 WL 472187, at *2 (Mich. App. Jan. 18, 2018).
The Michigan Court of appeals in a published decision disagreed with the Charter Townships arguments and the MMMA was ruled to have preempted the local ordinance. The MMA clearly states that “A person shall not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner, or denied any right or privilege, including but not limited to civil penalty or disciplinary action by a business or occupational or professional licensing board or bureau, for providing a registered qualifying patient or a registered primary caregiver with marihuana paraphernalia for purposes of a qualifying patient’s medical use of marihuana” (Mich. Comp. Laws Ann. § 333.26424 (West)).
The result in this case is that only the regulations contained within the Medical marihuana act will apply to your grow. The home occupation ordinance in this case was void as applied to MMMA caregivers and patients and preempted by the MMMA. The regulations prohibiting outdoor grows or growing in unattached buildings was also preempted by the MMMA. The defendants were though required to abide by and obtain the required permits for the construction code and building permits.
This case is important for all caregivers because many local municipalities are creating local ordinances that conflict with the MMMA. If your local township has a local ordinance that you believe conflicts with the MMMA, call the Michigan Cannabis Lawyers at 517-512-8364.

Joshua Covert of The Michigan Cannabis Lawyers is Interviewed in the Lansing City Pulse

Marijuana attorney Joshua Covert was recently interviewed by the Lansing City Pulse in the annual 4/20 edition.  The article discusses his work as a Cannabis Lawyer and how he fights the drug war.  Read the article here.

Attorney Joshua Covert Speaks at UNRIG THE SYSTEM Event in Lansing

Attorney Joshua Covert

Attorney Joshua Covert speaks at Unrig The System at 4-15-18 in Lansing Michigan.

On Sunday April 15th attorney Joshua Covert spoke at an event in Lansing geared to sharing information about local activism and grassroots efforts to empower citizens to play a larger role in the political process. The event was put on by Unrig The System a nationwide organization with a chapter in Michigan (visit their facebook page here).  Mr. Covert spoke as an attorney and activist involved in marijuana policy reform.  Mr. Covert spoke about his work as a board member of milegalize, a 2016 voter initiative campaign, and how important the voter initiative process is for citizens.

The event was originally scheduled to be held on the State Capitol grounds but because of weather was relocated to the Midtown Brewing Company.  Mr. Covert was pleased to hear the other speakers at the event but was excited to see that longtime friend and fellow cannabis activist Steven Lull (The Green Union) was also on the schedule.  It is important for Mr. Covert to speak to groups about political involvement and activism because of his belief that in our current form of government our legislators often don’t listen to the will of their constituents.  “It is obvious that our government in Lansing hasn’t been listening to the citizens of Michigan in regards to marijuana or cannabis policy reform,  legalization polls extremely high and most metropolitan areas have already legalized marijuana at the local level yet legalization is being done by the people via the voter initiative process and not by our elected legislators.”

 

Why the Next Medical Marijuana Licensing Board Meeting is Super Important

Michigan Cannabis Lawyers – Marijuana Attorney- Lansing

The next Michigan Medical Marihuana (Marijuana) Facility Licensing Act board meeting will tell us a lot in regards to time lines for the upcoming industry.  The Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation (BMMR) began accepting applications for licenses under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Facility Licensing Act (MMFLA) in December of 2017.  Hundreds of applications have been submitted to the BMMR but so far there have been only two applications submitted to the state board for approval.  Each license after submitted must be approved by the state board. For the last meeting there were originally 5 applications on the agenda but three were removed the day before the meeting.  The two submissions that remained on the agenda  were prequalification applications which is the first of a two part application process.   Each of the prequalification applications were temporarily rejected and may be brought up for approval at the next board meeting.  The board meets this week April 19th and the agenda should be released early this week (click here to see agendas and meeting minutes).  Many applicants anxiously await the upcoming agenda to see how many applications will be submitted for approval.  Based on the last board meeting where license approvals were brought up for the first time and the fact that only 5 were originally planned for submission to the board, it would take over 5 years for the board to get through the applications they have currently received.

With new municipalities opting in every week and new opportunities around every corner, there should be a constant stream of applications to add to the stack of applications already piling up.  The State has already added additional meetings to the previously scheduled meeting schedule.  This will help the apparent backlog but wont be enough unless more than 5 applications are submitted to the board at each meeting.  Many patients around the state of Michigan rely on their medical use of marijuana to help them treat a variety of serious medical conditions and are counting on the MMFLA and the BMMR to put a functioning system in place so that they will have safe access to medicine.

Currently, the BMMR and the board have until June 15th to approve the facilities that are currently operating under local approval demonstrated by attestation E.  If those facilities are not granted approval and the rules don’t change, all currently operating facilities will be forced to shut down on June 15th.  If this occurs, patients will not have access to provisioning centers and the medicine that they provide.  It is the suggestion of the Michigan Cannabis Lawyers that the BMMR either add hundreds of applications for submission each meeting or extend the deadlines contained in the emergency rules.  It is vital that patients in Michigan have access to the medical marijuana they need.

 

Josh Covert

The Michigan Cannabis Defender