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.

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