Earlier this month, the Court of Appeals, in a split decision, figured out that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act does NOT protect caregivers or patients that remain in possession of wet marijuana that is in the drying process, from prosecution. The Courts judgment in the case of People v. Vanessa Mansour established that since wet marijuana that was in the drying out process was not usable cannabis, possession of wet marijuana was not protected by the MMMA.
The MMMA defines 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, however does not include the seeds, stalks, as well as roots of the plant. The Court found that since the act chose to use the word “dried” before the remaining components, that indicated that wet, undried marijuana was not a component of what the protections of the act were indicated to shield. Consequently, any person in the cannabis business of caregiving, that is growing under the MMMA for themselves or various other registered qualifying patients, remains in infraction of the regulation, if they possess wet cannabis, regardless of the purpose for which you possess it. Also you are in the procedure of drying the cannabis, if you are raided and the marijuana is wet, you can be in trouble.
The ruling is fairly bothersome for a number of reasons. Initially, any caregiver that is presently growing under the MMMA, will, at some point, have wet cannabis that is drying out but not usable. Consequently, any caregiver must comprehend that if you are in possession of wet, non-usable marijuana, and the authorities show up, you can be apprehended and the Court of Appeals has actually figured out that you can be prosecuted and also punished for possession with intent to deliver cannabis, which the immunity provisions of Section 4 and also Section 8 of the MMMA will certainly not protect you. Second, the matter creates questions concerning the stability of the caregiving model, as well as additionally develops a bothersome situation for caregivers applying under the Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) for a growing or processing license.
Knowing that you are caregiving, which the Courts are suggesting that a component of your cultivation process creates you to commit, at minimum, a misdemeanor, creates potential problems for the application review procedure. Additionally, if having wet cannabis cause for criminal apprehension and prosecution, exactly how does that influence cultivators as well as processors that are to be licensed under the MMFLA. Seemingly, both statutes are not interlinked therefore, there shouldn’t be any kind of problems. However, the MMFLA uses the exact same “usable” marijuana definition as the MMMA. Especially, 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 Judiciaries extend that MMMA definition to the mmfla. Such a ruling in the future can place a significant kink in the medical marijuana industry under the MMFLA, likely as a result of a feasible chilling effect. The ruling plainly creates concerns for registered caregivers, and, potentially, for MMFLA growers, needs to the Court increase this analysis to cover cannabis growing and processing under the MMFLA. Basically, since “wet” undried cannabis, according to the Court, does not satisfy the meaning of “usable” cannabis, if authorities were to come to the location and find wet cannabis, you may be looking at prospective criminal liability. If you are a caregiver and are preparing to proceed growing for your patients under the MMMA, and you have concerns concerning the potential liability you have under this new judgment, do not hesitate to call our office for a consultation.