The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act
Many individuals were and are still against marihuana. Much of this has to do with the classification of the drug, whereas alcohol continues to be legalized for adults. Marihuana use was first outlawed in 1915. The Federal government took its first step to criminalizing or controlling the use of the drug through the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. The Federal Government later went on to classify and completely outlaw the use, possession and cultivation of the drug by placing it as a banned controlled substance.
However, year after year more states are legalizing marijuana in various forms, generally for medical purposes. Washington and Colorado took it a step further and legalized the use, possession, and sale of the drug statewide, which has created a mass-debate on how other states, municipalities, and law enforcement officials deal with the creation of such legalization laws.
Other areas have decriminalized the drug, such as cities in Michigan, which include Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Flint, Lansing and Detroit. It should be noted that enforcement of these local ordinances decriminalizing marijuana do not apply at the state level. This means that you could still technically be arrested and charged beyond the local ordinance or law. This generally depends upon the arresting agency, i.e. city or state law enforcement.
Decriminalization is not the same as legalization. Legalization allows for no charges to be brought forth because the "act" inflicted or intended by an individual does not violate the law of the state or local municipality. Decriminalization, on the other hand, only hinders the available criminal punishment imposed, meaning that criminal charges are not filed against an individual. Instead, in those areas where marijuana is decriminalized, a civil infraction is generally issued, which in-turn preserves an individual's criminal record. Therefore, he or she would pay a fine and be done.
Here in the State of Michigan there are multiple areas where marijuana is decriminalized and no longer prosecuted through criminal charges; however, it is imperative to know the law in those areas because violation of the sometimes strict requirements will and can lead to criminal charges.
Michigan Medical Marihuana
More and more states have and continue to enact medical marihuana statutes. Theses statutes are provided for a specific set of individuals, i.e. those with qualifying medical conditions. Furthermore, the statutes limit what the qualifying individual generally can and cannot do with marijuana or marijuana plants. Here in the State of Michigan, individual patients and caregivers must remember that in order to qualify for immunity or an affirmative defense they must first maintain a qualifying medical condition. Furthermore, for immunity a patient must have a medical marihuana card and cannot possess more than 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana and 12 marijuana plants. See MCL 333.26424. The standards are different for caregivers. If you have more than the numbers provided or do not have your marihuana card then you will have an affirmative defense. See MCL 333.26428. This means you can still be charged, but the case could be dismissed after an evidentiary hearing. [i.e. lawyer-up].
Under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (aka MMMA) an individual wants to strive to maintain Section 4 Immunity because it’s purpose is to prevent arrest or prosecution for individuals following it’s strict requirements. It’s well known patients here in Michigan are limited to 12 marihuana plants if they do not have a caregiver and 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana. A caregiver is limited to the same numbers multiplied by the number of patients (up-to five) he or she has connected to them through the state’s registry system. See MCL 333.26424. The Michigan Supreme Court has been held that caregivers are only allowed to deliver marijuana to their connected patients under Section 4 of the MMMA. See People v McQueen. However, the Court in McQueen only decided whether “dispensaries” were nuisances, which inevitably was limited to Section 4 due to the action being civil in nature rather than criminal. Furthermore, the opinion in McQueen may suggest that certain transactions between patients could fall within the confines of Section 4; however, the act performed in McQueen was outside of those narrow requirements and the issue was not directly decided on. An interesting issue involving the definition of usable marijuana came from the Michigan Court of Appeals’ case People v Carruthers. The court explained that material that cannot be identified as dried leaf-based marihuana will not be usable. Therefore, those individuals possessing non-usable marijuana will not have Section 4 Immunity. The case dealt with marihuana resin-based brownies, and even though they contained marijuana it was determined to be considered nonusable. The resin was not considered usable even though it could have been identifiable as THC or marihuana.
The Michigan Supreme Court has recently held and determined that cities or municipalities cannot ban the medical use of marijuana subject to the MMMA. See Ter Beek v Wyoming. The MMMA is State law; therefore, it is superior over local law and authorizes certain individuals to engage in the medical use of marihuana. Currently, Michigan allows for the use of medical marijuana through its borders, and in some remote areas marijuana is decriminalized.
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Do you have questions about the legality of marihuana (medical or non-medical)? Do you think you qualify for using medical marihuana here in the State of Michigan? Do you not know how to qualify for using medical marihuana in Michigan? Have you thought about opening a Dispensary or setting up a grow-op for your patients? Do you know your local ordinance code? What exactly does decriminalization mean? What are the penalties if non-of your defense work?
We are your full-service marihuana law firm (medical or non-medical) and are here to make sure that individuals know and understand their rights. We can assist you with creating a portfolio and/or business plan outlining possible issues, circumstances, and guidelines involving medical marihuana, or we can assist you in knowing what the police can or cannot do to you even if you don't have your medical marihuana card. >So in the end, if you are ever in trouble, confused on what to do, or want to see if you may qualify for a medical marihuana card call Josh Jones today. He is here for you and will provide you with the most up-to-date legal theories, case law, and advice concerning the prohibition that is marihuana