Michigan Medical Marijuana Act

Since the passing of the MMMA, the law has been quite the source of news and discussion. It has also been well misunderstood and tested.

The MMMA does not make the possession, manufacture, or delivery of marijuana legal. It cannot do so because there are federal laws that make such actions illegal. The MMMA simply says that the State of Michigan may not arrest, prosecute, and penalize certain people with the possession, manufacture, and delivery of a very limited amount of marijuana.

The first person protected is one who has legally obtained a patient card.

The second person is one who has been designated as a caregiver. That caregiver is not necessarily a physician. It is simply someone approved to possess, manufacture and deliver very limited amounts to specifically assigned individuals.

Regardless of the arguments challenging the integrity of physicians who approve a patients, the diagnosis being used, the patients, or the caregivers, there are common ways people still get into trouble worth discussing.

First, during a traffic stop, police officers commonly ask if the driver or occupants have a MMMA card. If the answer is “yes”, then the officers are likely to ask to see the card and if there is marijuana in the vehicle.

Second, for those caught in traffic stops, you usually only have yourself to blame. Police cannot simply pull over vehicles at random. If you have been pulled over, it is likely you were speeding, swerved, failed to use a turn signal, failed to come to a complete stop at a stop sign or before pulling out of a driveway, having a head or taillight out, having illegally tinted windows, or some other easily avoidable problem.

Third, the individual has anything more than the allowed amount of marijuana in his/her possession. The amount is typically 2.5 ounces per patient or 12 plants.

Fourth, the individual fails to possess or present their patient or caregiver card.

Fifth, not having the substance properly secured.

Sixth, possessing marijuana as a caregiver, but not being anywhere near the location of his/her listed patients or other evidence that the substance is for personal use. It is important to note that the presumptive defense is rebuttable. This means that with proper evidence, the police and prosecutor can overcome the presumption that the possession is legally covered by the MMMA.

The point here is not to advocate for the use of marijuana. The law and voters have declared that there is some legitimate medical purpose behind its limited use. The point here is also not to counsel on how to get around the law. The point here is that the is complex and has strict limitations. To avoid any criminal penalties, for those seeking to comply with the law, it is important that they know and adhere to the limitations strictly.

For any legal advice or representation on this and other criminal law related matters across Northern Michigan contact our firm.