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The Odor of Marijuana and Warrantless Searches of Automobiles: Where Do We Stand?

In a recent decision out of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, United States v. Gray, the odor of marijuana in a motor vehicle could provide the probable cause necessary for a warrantless search in a state that has legalized adult use of marijuana. More states across the Country are leaning toward this type of approach in determining the reasonableness of similar searches.  Michigan, which is now a recreational state, will most likely be looking to other states that have recreational laws for guidance on how to decide these types of issues.

In Gray, two occupants of a vehicle were traveling on a downtown street without any lights on. During their progression, they were stopped by county sheriff’s officers. Upon questioning of the occupants, the occupants denied smoking marijuana in the car but the officers believed they were “smoking buds” while the vehicle was operable.  In Nevada it is illegal to, “smoke or otherwise consume marijuana in a public place,… or in a moving vehicle.” Nev. Rev. Stat. § 453D.400(2). The officers then called in a drug detection dog to search the vehicle. The drug detection dog alerted to the vehicle and a search was conducted, finding a firearm in the backpack of one of the occupants. The trial court (a Nevada court) never made the distinction regarding the difference between the odor of burnt or unburnt marijuana thus it appears that the appellate court was left a set of facts pertaining simply to the smell of marijuana.

What does this mean for us here in Michigan? Our law allows for the possession of 2.5 oz. of flower marijuana and who are 21 years or older. “I believe that the case may have had a different outcome had the trail court made a distinction regarding whether or not the odor was of burnt or unburnt marijuana.  Had the smell been of unburnt or fresh marijuana the evidence may of very well been suppressed and the charges dismissed,” says attorney Joshua Covert of the Michigan Cannabis Lawyers.  So long as there isn’t the smell of burning or burnt marijuana in a moving vehicle or while operating, there shouldn’t be probable cause to warrant a search. However, it is important to stay in touch with the changing laws and regulations regarding Fourth Amendment searches and seizures. At the Michigan Cannabis Lawyers, we strive to stay ahead of the pitch and always ready to face a challenge.

 

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.

BMMR Pre License Inspection: Advisory Bulletins

This week The Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation (BMMR) released several advisory bulletins.

These bulletins were aimed at reminding Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) applicants of pre-license inspections. The BMMR Pre License Inspection Advisory bulletins were released for each of the five types of licenses allowed under the MMFLA as well as a General Pre-Licensure Inspection Reminder.  Each applicant should read and understand their respective advisory bulletin as well as the general advisory bulletin.

Key points contained within the bulletins were the following BMMR Pre License Inspection requirements:

  • Passing a BMMR inspection
  • Obtaining a permanent certificate of occupancy
  • Passing a fire safety inspection by the Bureau of Fire Services (BFS)
  • Maintaining criminal background history checks for all employees

You can read the advisory bulletins here.

 BMMR Pre License Inspection Micannabislaywer.com

If you have any questions on how these new advisory bulletins will impact your license or application, please call the Michigan Cannabis Lawyers at 517-512-8364.

 

If you would like more information on Michigan Marihuana Licensing read more on our blog.