Growing marijuana has become a hobby and at the same time, a responsibility for many medical marijuana patients and caregivers in Michigan. It can also be seen as a medical necessity and sometimes, a job for financial dependency. The MMMA allows the cultivation of marijuana in only strict compliance with its rules. If the rules are not followed exactly as written, the grower may face severe penalties and felonious criminal responsibility. Here are the most important considerations and dangers.
A caregiver can cultivate no more than 72 plants – what is a plant and are when are they drying?
Presently, a medical marijuana caregiver is the only person who can legally supply a patient with medical marijuana. A caregiver may have up to five patients registered to him and can grow up to 12 plants for each of them. If the caregiver is a patient himself and has five patients, he can grow up to 72 cannabis marijuana plants. The Act nor Michigan appellate courts have provided a specific definition of a marijuana plant. Therefore, a standard dictionary definition must be used and thus a plant is defined as a vegetable growth and multicellular organism that produce their own food from inorganic matter by a process called photosynthesis with rigid cell walls. Root formation is necessary before a cutting may be considered a plant. The plant does not necessarily have to be living in the soil. Therefore, when the plant has been cut for drying, it is still a plant until it is dried. Usable marijuana is defined as the dried leaves and flowers, which does not include the roots, seeds or stalks.
A marijuana plant can take a few weeks to fully dry. During that time, additional marijuana plants should not be grown if the total number will exceed the maximum allowable, including those plants that are drying.
For every 72 plants there must be a separate, enclosed and locked room or facility
The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA) states that the cultivation of marijuana must be in a locked, separate and enclosed facility. Further, only the caregiver may have access to that facility which includes the caregiver’s patients. Only the patient or that patient’s caregiver, but not both, may have possession and access to the 12 plants that each patient is allowed to cultivate.
Access to the facility is a very sensitive subject. Another person living within the same home cannot possess a key. I recommend that all keys be kept secure so that no person can access the key. Do not leave it on the same keychain as your vehicle or in a drawer that others can access. The key itself must be secured, in fact hidden and intentionally kept from access of others. If it can be demonstrated that others had access to the key then during any period of time of that access, more than one person has constructive possession of those plants that could force the caregiver to lose the presumption granted in section 4 and no longer be immune from prosecution.
For a keyless entry system, only one person should have the password. In fact, the password should be changed regularly and frequently, which demonstrates the caregiver’s intent to disallow another’s constructive possession.
The rules are very strict and in many places, strictly enforced. The penalty for not following the rules and being extra vigilant and careful are too costly. Any non-compliance means you lose the protections of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA) and can be prosecuted as a felony.