Last November, Michigan legalized the use of marihuana for medicinal purposes, thus enacting the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMA). The purpose of this blog is to clear up any confusion or misunderstanding readers may have about the year-old legislation:
- Under MMA, the cultivation and possession of marihuana can be used for the purpose of treating a debilitating medical condition. A "debilitating medical condition" is defined as cancer, glaucoma, HIV, hepatitis C, and any other disease, condition, or chronic illness that is associated with nausea and pain.
- A "caregiver" is defined as the person who has agreed to assist with the patient's use of medicinal marihuana. This person must at least 21 years old and must not have ever been convicted of a felony involving illegal drugs.
- To qualify for medical marihuana, a patient must be diagnosed with having a debilitating medical condition by a licensed physician.
- All patients and caregivers must possess a "registry identification card" issued by the Department of Community Health.
- Patients can legally possess 2.5 ounces of smokeable pot or less and caregivers can legally maintain up to 12 plants per patient without being arrested or prosecuted. Stems, seeks and unusable roots do not count towards the plant limitation.
- Physicians are also immune from arrest and criminal prosecution as long as they can prove a legitimate physician-patient relationship exists, and that they have certified the patient's need for the drug. They must also conduct an assessment of the patient's medical history.
- Pursuant to the 2003 Supreme Court ruling in Conant vs. Walters, a physician cannot prescribe medical marihuana, but he or she can recommend it on a prescription form, keep the recommendations in a patient's medical record, and testify on a patient's behalf in a court of law.
- Caregivers can receive compensation for their marihuana.
- Under MMA, the sale of marihuana paraphernalia is not illegal, and paraphernalia cannot be seized.
- If marihuana is distributed to anyone other than a qualifying patient, the provider's registration card will be revoked and he or she will be subjected to a 2-year felony.
- It is still a crime to drive under the influence of marihuana.
- It is a still a crime to smoke pot in public, even if it is medical marihuana.
- It is still a crime to possess pot on a school campus or on a school bus.
- It is still a crime to smoke pot in jail or a penitentiary, regardless of any medical condition or ailments.
If you have been criminally charged with the use, possession, or cultivation of medical marihuana, or if you would simply like more information on this topic, please do not hesitate to contact an Oakland County or Wayne County Medical Marihuana Lawyer at the Law Offices of Freedman & Freedman today!