Earlier this month, the Court of Appeals, in a split choice, figured out that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act does NOT protect caregivers or patients that are in possession of wet marijuana that remains in the drying out process, from prosecution. The Courts ruling in the case of People v. Vanessa Mansour figured out that because wet marijuana that remained in the drying out procedure was not usable marijuana, possession of wet marijuana was not protected by the MMMA.
The MMMA specifies many of the terms of the act. The term usable marijuana is specifically defined in the MMMA. The act defines usable marijuana to indicate the following: “Usable marihuana” means the dried leaves, flowers, plant resin, or extract of the marihuana plant, but does not consist of the seeds, stalks, and also roots of the plant. The Court found that due to the fact that the act chose to use the word “dried” before the remaining components, that indicated that wet, undried marijuana was not a part of what the protections of the act were suggested to shield. Therefore, any person in the marijuana business of caregiving, that is growing under the MMMA for themselves or various other registered qualifying patients, remains in offense of the legislation, if they possess wet cannabis, despite the function for which you have it. Also you are in the process of drying the cannabis, if you are raided and the cannabis is wet, you could be in trouble.
The ruling is rather bothersome for a variety of reasons. Initially, any caregiver that is currently growing under the MMMA, will, at some time, have wet marijuana that is drying out but not usable. Because of this, any caregiver must recognize that if you are in possession of wet, non-usable cannabis, and the authorities show up, you can be detained and the Court of Appeals has actually identified that you can be prosecuted and punished for possession with intent to deliver cannabis, and that the immunity provisions of Section 4 as well as Section 8 of the MMMA will certainly not protect you. Second, the issue produces inquiries regarding the stability of the caregiving model, as well as also creates a problematic scenario for caregivers applying under the Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) for a growing or processing license.
Knowing that you are caregiving, and that the Courts are indicating that a component of your cultivation process causes you to commit, at minimum, a misdemeanor, produces possible problems for the application review procedure. Better, if having wet marijuana cause for criminal apprehension and also prosecution, just how does that impact growers and processors who are to be licensed under the MMFLA. Seemingly, both laws are not interlinked therefore, there shouldn’t be any concerns. Nonetheless, the MMFLA uses the same “usable” marijuana definition as the MMMA. Specifically, subsection (ff) of M.C.L. § 333.27102 specifies usable marijuana as follows: (ff) “Usable marihuana” means the dried leaves, flowers, plant resin, or extract of the marihuana plant, but does not include the seeds, stalks, and roots of the plant.
Therefore, it would not be a stretch to see the Courts prolong that MMMA meaning to the MMFLA. Such a ruling down the road can place a major kink in the medical marijuana industry under the MMFLA, likely as a result of a feasible chilling impact. The judgment plainly causes problems for registered caregivers, and also, possibly, for MMFLA cultivators, should the Court increase this reading to cover cannabis growing and also processing under the MMFLA. Basically, because “wet” undried cannabis, according to the Court, does not meet the interpretation of “usable” marijuana, if authorities were to come to the area as well as find wet marijuana, you could be looking at prospective criminal liability. If you are a caregiver and are preparing to continue growing for your patients under the MMMA, and you have concerns about the possible liability you have under this new ruling, do not wait to contact our office for a consultation.