Can a Michigan man be prosecuted for possessing an ounce of marijuana while not having his Michigan Medical Marijuana Card with him at the time? The answer is NO according to a recent State Court of Appeals ruling. This does not mean it’s a good idea to be hanging out in a questionable location with an ounce of weed.
In May of 2011, a man was a passenger in a parked car near a water treatment plant. The car was approached by a Police Officer. After questioning, the man admitted to the Police Officer that he had approximately 1 ounce of marijuana in his possession. The man also indicated he was a Medical Marijuana Patient. The man told the Police Officer he had been approved for Medical Marijuana, but he had not yet received his actual Registry Identification Card. He told the Police Officer the paperwork proving he had been approved for medical marijuana was in his own car, which was parked back at his own residence. Because the Defendant did not have the actual paperwork on him, he was arrested and eventually convicted of possession of marijuana.
An Appeals Court reversed the conviction after persuasive arguments were presented by the man’s lawyers. The Court of Appeals ruled that when interpreting the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA), lower courts must not only analyze whether a defendant possesses a registry identification card at the same of his/her arrest, but also later when the defendant is actually prosecuted and then penalized. Since the man was able to produce a valid card when he appeared in the District Court, the Appeals Court ruled he was not guilty of violating the marijuana act.
We strongly advise you to keep your medical marijuana card with you at all times. With your card in hand, you are most likely to avoid arrest and the inconvenience and expense of subsequent court appearances. Also, be aware the law still requires you to be engaged in the “medical use” of marijuana. The MMMA defines “medical use” as: the acquisition, possession, cultivation, manufacture, use, internal possession, delivery, transfer, or transportation of marijuana or paraphernalia relating to the administration of marijuana to treat or alleviate a registered qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with debilitating medical condition.” MCL 333.26423(e).
So, next time you venture off to your local neighborhood water treatment plant to “medicate” yourself, be sure to take your Medical Marijuana card. If not, you may soon be looking for my card.
Dailey Law Firm
If you have been arrested or charged with any type of crime involving marijuana or any other drugs, please call Attorney Matt Catchick at the Dailey Law Firm for a FREE initial consultation.
Editors Note: Read more from Matt on this subject. Click Here