Criminal Defense and the MMMA michigan marijuana www.micannabislawyer.com

Need free cannabis criminal defense and the MMMA information? The Michigan Cannabis Lawyers Blog has news, updates, and analysis on criminal defense in Michigan and how it pertains to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.

What is unusable marijuana? Section 4 and 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 marijuana 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 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 a 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 enforcement 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 bonafide 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 marijuana grow.

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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.

Read more

Local Ordinances and the MMMA Michigan www.micannabislaywer.com

Local Ordinances and the MMMA Michigan

If you are Michigan Marijuana caregiver you might want to know that many local municipalities are creating conflicting local ordinances and the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA Michigan).

Charter Township of York and the MMMA Michigan

This case is a court of appeals case in which a conflict between 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 MMMA. The township started the legal proceeding with legal action to prevent the defendants from growing their medical marijuana. A local home occupation ordinance was sited as well as the local ordinance regulating medical marijuana grows.

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 judgment and held that the local ordinance directly conflicted with 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 Michigan.

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 MMMA Michigan 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 were 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.

Contact a Cannabis Lawyer today to talk about the MMMA Michigan

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See Also:

Michigan Cannabis Automobile Search Rules 2020

Does smoking marijuana impair your ability to drive?

Cannabis Drugged Driving: So if you eat enough turkey, that would be classified as a drug…

Joshua Covert explains his career choice www.micannabislawyer.com

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.

“I started thinking about my mom going to jail for using cannabis and that’s kind of like what spurred the thought about going to law school,” he said. “I decided to actually do that, to help keep people like my mom out of jail.”

Joshua Covert, Michigan Cannabis Lawyers

Read the article Four people in the pot trade from the Lansing City Pulse.

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.

Read more

MMMA Patients and “Obviously High” Marijuana Driving in Michigan

Marijuana Driving in Michigan

In an unpublished case, the Michigan Court of Appeals (People v Donaghy, No. 322677, 2015) interpreted the protections of section 4 of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) in regards to the limitations of section 7(b)(4).  The case involved an individual who was charged with what is commonly known as drugged marijuana driving, a violation of the motor vehicle code MCL 257.625 et. seq.

The facts show that the defendant had tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active substance in marijuana as well as alprazolam (Xanax), methadone, and zolpidem (Ambien) in his system.  The defendant at trial requested a jury instruction regarding his medical marihuana use and registry card as a defense to the operating while visibly impaired charge one of the two counts he was facing. The trial court denied the jury instruction request and the defendant appealed the conviction on many grounds.

The Michigan Court of Appeals decided the case and said: “The MMMA’s protections are lost under § 7(b)(4) only when a person operates a vehicle “under the influence” of marijuana. This definition of “under the influence” is determined to be consistent with the phrase’s meaning as a term of art, operating a vehicle while visibility impaired under MCL 257.265(3) as a result of marijuana use, like operating a vehicle while any amount of marijuana is present in a person’s body under MCL 257.265(8), is too low of a threshold to deprive a person with protections under the MMMA that the person would otherwise be entitled to.”  Unfortunately for the defendant, the ruling was not enough as the court upheld his conviction because the protections from a visibly impaired charge that the MMMA provides would not be relevant when the defendant also had the other controlled substances in his system.

What does this mean for a medical marihuana patient who is arrested for operating while visibly impaired?  The answer is DISMISSAL.

 

If you are charged with any crime involving marijuana OR marijuana driving, call attorneys who present a defense and stay current on all the appeal cases.

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