Wet Cannabis Still Prohibited Per MI COA
Previously this month, the Court of Appeals, in a split choice, figured out that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act does NOT protect caregivers or patients who are in possession of wet marijuana that is in the drying procedure, from prosecution. The Courts ruling in the case of People v. Vanessa Mansour identified that because wet cannabis that remained in the drying procedure was not usable marijuana, possession of wet cannabis 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 imply the following: “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. The Court found that since the act chose to use the word “dried” before the remaining components, that indicated that wet, undried cannabis was not a part of what the protections of the act were indicated to shield. For that reason, anybody in the marijuana business of caregiving, that is growing under the MMMA for themselves or other registered qualifying people, is in violation of the law, if they possess wet cannabis, regardless of the objective for which you have it. Also you are in the process of drying out the marijuana, if you are raided and the marijuana is wet, you might be in trouble.
The ruling is rather troublesome for a variety of factors. First, any caregiver that is currently growing under the MMMA, will, at some point, have wet marijuana that is drying out however not usable. As a result, any caregiver needs to recognize that if you are in possession of wet, non-usable marijuana, and the cops show up, you can be apprehended and the Court of Appeals has identified that you can be prosecuted and punished for possession with intent to deliver cannabis, which the immunity provisions of Section 4 and Section 8 of the MMMA will certainly not protect you. Second, the issue creates questions about the stability of the caregiving model, and additionally creates a problematic circumstance for caregivers applying under the Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) for a growing or processing license.
Recognizing that you are caregiving, which the Courts are showing that a component of your farming process creates you to commit, at minimum, a misdemeanor, develops potential problems for the application review process. Further, if having wet marijuana cause for criminal apprehension and prosecution, exactly how does that effect growers as well as processors who are to be licensed under the MMFLA. Seemingly, both laws are not interlinked and so, there should not be any concerns. However, the MMFLA makes use of the exact same “usable” marijuana definition as the MMMA. Particularly, 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.
As a result, it wouldn’t be a stretch to see the Judiciaries extend that MMMA meaning to the MMFLA. Such a ruling later on can place a significant kink in the medical cannabis industry under the MMFLA, likely as a result of a possible chilling impact. The judgment clearly triggers issues for registered caregivers, as well as, possibly, for MMFLA growers, must the Court increase this reading to cover marijuana growing as well as processing under the MMFLA. Basically, due to the fact that “wet” undried marijuana, according to the Court, does not meet the definition of “usable” marijuana, if authorities were to come to the area and also find wet marijuana, you could be looking at potential criminal liability. If you are a caregiver and are intending to continue growing for your patients under the MMMA, and you have questions about the possible liability you have under this new judgment, don’t wait to contact our office for a consultation.