Lawyers for Cannabis
Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
IF YOU DON’ T FOLLOW THE MRTMA
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.
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.
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.
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1129 N Washington
Lansing, MI 48906