The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act
Michigan Medical Marijuana No-No’s: MCL 333.26427(b):
The MMMA DOES NOT allow an individual to:
- undertake any task under the influence of marihuana, when doing so would constitute negligence or professional malpractice;
- possess marihuana, or otherwise engage in the medical use of marihuana in a school bus, on the ground of any preschool [primary or secondary school], in any correctional facility;
- smoke marihuana on any form of public transportation or in any public place; operate, navigate, or be in actual physical control of any motor vehicle, aircraft, or motorboat while under the influence of marihuana; or
- use marihuana if that person does not have a serious or debilitating medical condition.
Having a medical marihuana card is a privilege and not a right, but in order to maintain the right to use that privilege you must follow the narrower requirements indicated within the MMMA. Knowing the law, maintaining your rights, and lawyering-up when charged with a crime is the best way to have a positive outcome. The medical marihuana law here in the State of Michigan has been in constant flux and change over the years, which is bound to continue.
Transporting Marihuana or Marihuana Plants
An individual that is transporting marijuana plants in his or her motor vehicle will be considered to have those plants in an enclosed locked facility. MCL 333.26423(d). It is important to note that in order to qualify for that particular provision the individual must be transporting the marihuana plants from one location to another with the intent to permanently place or leave the plants at the end location. Make sure that when you are transporting marijuana plants to always have all your cards with you or the vehicle and your identification card.
Furthermore, MCL 750.474 outlines and explains how an individual is required, here in the Michigan, to transport his or her usable medical marijuana. An individual must transport usable marijuana enclosed in a case, and either in the trunk of the vehicle or if the vehicle does not have a trunk then in an area that is not readily accessible to the interior of the vehicle. If an individual is found to be in violation of this law, i.e. illegally transporting marijuana, he or she faces a misdemeanor charge with a maximum $500 fine and/or 93-days in jail. Luckily, there does not seem to be any licensing concerns with this particular crime; however, it is a criminal misdemeanor and will be placed onto the individual’s criminal record if convicted.
The criminal act indicated under MCL 750.474 has been ruled in multiple lower district courts as unconstitutional. Whenever you are facing a charged for improper transportation of usable marihuana contact your Michigan Marihuana Lawyer today. He will be able to assist you in fighting this violation of the MMMA.
DRIVING & MARIHUANA (MEDICAL & NON-MEDICAL)
The Michigan Supreme Court, in People v Koon, has held that individuals who qualify for protection under the MMMA will not automatically be found to be driving “under the influence” simply because they internally possess marijuana. The Court compared and distinguished the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code, MCL 257.625(8), [a “zero-tolerance” crime for marijuana use and driving for the majority of individuals in Michigan] from the MMMA. The Court pointed out that the Act does forbid an individual from operating a motor vehicle “under the influence” of marijuana, MCL 333.26427(b); however, the Act does not define what it means by "under the influence."
Therefore, the Court concluded that the Motor Vehicle Code’s "zero tolerance" standard was not applicable in the Koon case nor to medical marihuana users. Generally, any statute within the State of Michigan that is inconsistent with the MMMA will not apply to those cardholders maintaining compliance with the MMMA. In the end, an individual qualifying for protection under the MMMA will be allowed to internally possess marijuana and operate a motor vehicle to a certain extent. That still begs the question of what qualifies as “under the influence” of marijuana as mentioned in the Act?
To answer this question the case will likely and seems to turn on other factors that will or did occur during or before the traffic stop and arrest, i.e. proving that the individual is visibly or substantially impaired and under the influence of marijuana, other controlled substances or alcohol. If a judge or jury finds that the individual’s ability to operate a vehicle was substantially or visibly impaired then a drunk driving conviction will be placed on his or her criminal record. Regular Michigan drunk driving sanctions and punishments will then ensue. It is advisable to never smoke while driving or in your vehicle.
As mentioned above, individuals that are not protected by the MMMA are subject to Michigan’s “zero-tolerance” statute, and if any amount of THC (not THC metabolite) is found within the individual’s blood drunk driving charges can and will likely ensue. MCL 257.625(8). This means that those smoking within a certain amount of time prior to driving their vehicles could have THC show-up in their blood even if they are not technically "high."
More importantly, if the officer requests you to submit to a chemical test, not a Preliminary Breathe Test (aka PBT), you could be subject to the implied consent law found here in Michigan. This means that you could lose your driver’s license for one-year if the officer has probable cause to believe that you were driving under the influence of controlled substances, i.e. marihuana or alcohol, and you refuse to take the chemical test. Individuals must be very careful if they are using marijuana recreationally. Always seek counsel when you are charged with drunk driving involving marihuana because there may be defense you are unaware exist.
Remember, you are not required by law to take road-side field sobriety tests, refusing the preliminary (initial) breathalyzer test (PBT) is a simple civil infraction, and refusing the Chemical breathalyzer or blood test involves the implied consent law and possible lose of your Michigan Driver’s license. Make sure your are aware of your rights, maintain those rights to the fullest, and then lawyer-up - it can truly make a difference.
Here in the State of Michigan recreational marihuana is illegal. Simple possession of marijuana is a one-year misdemeanor, attaching a $1,000 fine plus costs, and use of marihuana is a 93-day misdemeanor with a $500 fine plus costs. See MCL 333.7403. For those previously convicted of a drug offense, Michigan allows for enhanced punishment if two or more times. It is important to note that individuals possessing large amounts of marijuana could be charged with a felony intent to deliver marijuana, or a felony will be charged when there are facts indicating and individual created or transferred marijuana. MCL 333.7401.
Furthermore, convictions can and will lead to licensing sanctions and restrictions. If a conviction is placed on an individual’s record he or she will lose their license for 30-days and then have a 150-day restricted license—all enforced by the Secretary of State. See MCL 333.7408a. Individuals convicted of multiple marihuana or drug crimes could see 1-year driver’s license suspension and a restricted license after 60-days. MCL 333.7408a. However, on a different note, first-time offenders under a Michigan statute charged for simple possession and use charges can obtain diversion of the charge from the criminal record. See MCL 333.7411. The individual must successfully complete probation. The statute excludes crimes involving delivery or manufacturing marijuana. Furthermore, an individual must not have a previous drug offense on his or her record to obtain a 7411 or have used a 7411 diversion previously.
Contact the Michigan Marihuana Lawyer today for your free consultation. Josh Jones is here 7-days a week and will provide your with exceptional and professional representation for all your Marijuana and Criminal Defense Matters.