Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA)
Drug Crimes Attorneys in Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids & Paw Paw
Although marijuana remains an illegal controlled substance under federal law, certain states are beginning to treat it differently under the state statutes. Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance, which means that it has a high potential for abuse and no generally recognized medical value. Despite this, in Michigan, under certain circumstances individuals can be immune from criminal prosecution. The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act prescribes the parameters for that immunity.
Individuals who use marijuana for medical reasons, but who do not follow Michigan's procedures, can be punished with the same penalties imposed for illegal marijuana use and possession, depending on the amount illegally used or possessed.
Medical Marijuana Use Procedures
Michigan allows medical marijuana to be grown, possessed and used by patients who have been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition. Each patient may designate one primary caregiver to help the patient cultivate medicinal marijuana.
To gain this immunity, patients must obtain a written recommendation from a physician, register with the state, pay a registration fee and obtain a registry identification card. Others can grow marijuana for others if they become caregivers by registering with the state, paying a fee and possessing a registry identification card. Physicians and paraphernalia sellers are also protected from civil and criminal penalties for providing bona fide prescriptions or paraphernalia, respectively. MCL 333.26424(4)(a),(f)&(g).)
Legal Possession Amounts
Under the MMMA, a patient may possess and use up to 2 ½ ounces of "usable" marijuana, and may cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants (when kept in an enclosed, locked facility). Caregivers may posses, but not use, these amounts for each qualifying patient, and may be paid for their costs without violating the marijuana cultivation and distribution laws. MCL 333.26424(4).
Presumption of Medicinal Use
A patient or caregiver who possesses a MMMA card is presumed to be in possession of marijuana for medicinal purposes, if the amount possessed is within the legal limits described above. However, this presumption may be rebutted with evidence that shows that the marijuana was possessed or used for non-medicinal purposes. MCL 333.26424(4)(d).
Effect on Minor Custody or Visitation
A patient or primary caregiver cannot be denied custody or visitation of a minor child for acting in accordance with this law, unless the prosecution can clearly show, with substantiating evidence, that the activities cause an unreasonable danger to the minor. MCL 333.26424(4)(c).
Penalties for Illegal Sale and Use by Patients or Caregivers
A qualifying patient or caregiver may not sell marijuana for nonmedical purposes. Doing so is a felony. In addition to the applicable penalties for marijuana sales, the patient or caregiver will be fined up to $2,000, imprisoned for up to 2 years, or both. MCL 333.26424(4)(k).