Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA)

Section 1 – The Title Section

The Title of the Act is the “Michigan Medical Marihuana Act” Most notably, marijuana is spelled with an “h” instead of a “j”. All court opinions have chosen to ignore this uncommon spelling. The act was made effective December 4, 2008.

Section 2 – Legislature Findings and Declaration

This section is powerful as it clearly states that the People of the State of Michigan have found that marijuana has legitimate medical usefulness with place similar to marijuana lansing mi and other medical marijuana centers providing help to those who need it. For anyone who has the approval to use medical marijuana as a way of managing any ailments they may have, the ability to use various methods such as a cannabis inhaler, oils or even vaping devices is something the individual will decide on, depending on what works best for them (and legal in their state). It further states that 99% of all marijuana prosecutions are pursuant to state law. It lists all of the medical marijuana states that have legalized the use of this product before 2008 including Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Washington (now there are many more states added to this list and its steadily growing) . Section two clearly states that, despite continued federal law prohibition of marijuana, that the states have the right to enact this law despite federal law. Michigan does so for the health and welfare of its citizens.

Section 3 – Definitions

Important definitions include:

Medical use means the acquisition, possession, cultivation, manufacture, use, internal possession, delivery, transfer, or transportation of marijuana or paraphernalia relating to the administration of marijuana to treat or alleviate a registered qualifying patient’s debilitating medical condition or symptoms associated with the debilitating medical condition.

Lawyers and judges have placed a lot of importance on this definition. Despite the fact that terms like “delivery” and “transfer” are used, courts have ruled that this does not mean sales or patient to patient transfers.

Bona fide physician-patient relationship means a treatment or counseling relationship between a physician and patient in which all of the following are present:

(1) The physician has reviewed the patient’s relevant medical records and completed a full assessment of the patient’s medical history and current medical condition, including a relevant, in-person, medical evaluation of the patient.

(2) The physician has created and maintained records of the patient’s condition in accordance with medically accepted standards.

(3) The physician has a reasonable expectation that he or she will provide follow-up care to the patient to monitor the efficacy of the use of medical marijuana as a treatment of the patient’s debilitating medical condition.

(4) If the patient has given permission, the physician has notified the patient’s primary care physician of the patient’s debilitating medical condition and certification for the use of medical marihuana to treat that condition.

Courts have placed a lot of important upon this relationship. The most commonly abused section of the Medical Marijuana Act involves the doctors that provide patients with certifications. It is believed that anyone who wants a card can get one through a physician that advertises doing so. Police. prosecutors and courts believe it is easy to get a card, which may or may not be true. What is true is that a court or prosecutor who wishes to be difficult about the MMMA defense will attack the physician patient relationship, as it must be bona fide.

Presently, the definition of usable marijuana is defined as “the dried leaves and flowers of the marijuana plant but does not include the seeds, stalk and root of the plant” and importantly does now include edibles and extracts like wax, hash or medibles made with extracts with the passage a new law effective December 20, 2016.

Section 4 Defenses available to a card-carrying patient or caregiver and other persons involved with them

Section (a) protects patients in stating that a qualifying patient actively carrying the card is immune from arrest provided that they are engaged in the medical use according to the act and possess no more than 2.5 ounces and/or 12 plants.

Section (b) protects primary caregivers in the same way.

Section (c) regards not being denied custody and visitation of a minor child.

Section (d) states there is a presumption of medical use as long as someone is in accordance with the act by having no more than allowed and in possession of a card. This presumption can be rebutted by the prosecution. They will usually attempt to do so by attacking the physician-patient relationship or the relationship between the caregiver and patient. A caregiver should know a patient’s circumstances well to overcome the prosecution’s attempt to rebut the presumption.

Section (e) provides for caregiver compensation but does not include the ability to make a profit and reimbursement of expenses.

Section (f) provides protections against physicians as long as there is a bona fide physician patient relationship.

Section (g) refers to any person and is not limited to patients and caregivers. It protects from disciplinary action from a professional or occupational licensing board for providing a patient or caregiver paraphernalia. This section can protect a business with a liquor license form providing a patient with a pipe, for example.

Section (h) states that any paraphernalia or other property that is used in the connection of medical use of marijuana cannot be seized or forfeit. This section can be used to fight vehicle forfeitures. Wayne County is susceptible to unlawful vehicle forfeitures that we have beaten using this section.

Section (i) again protects persons that are not patients and caregivers. It states that such persons should not be subject to arrest and prosecution solely for being in the presence or vicinity of the medical use of marijuana in accordance with the act or for assisting a patient or caregiver with administering marijuana. Roommates that are not patients or caregivers cannot be prosecuted. The roommate can even assist in the medical use, which can broadly be defined

Section (j) allows for out of state medical marijuana cards to be enforceable in Michigan and protected under the act.

Section (k) states any patient or caregiver who sells marijuana to another without a card shall have their card revoked and can be guilty of a two year felony.

Section 5 – Department of Health Rule Requirements

Rules must be established by April 1, 2008. The Department was ordered to take public comment on what type of debilitating illnesses would be acceptable and included in the act.

Section 6 – Department of Health Administration and Enforcement of Rules

Section (a) states the department must issue a card to every applicant that presents the written physician certification, the required fee, patient and caregiver information, and proof of Michigan residency.

Section (b) states that the Department must not issue a card to a person under the age of 18 unless a parent consents in writing and at least two physician certifications are received. The parent must also control the acquisition and frequency of medical use of the marijuana.

Section(c) states that the Department must verify and approve qualifying applications within 15 days of receiving it. Denial is subject to judicial review only in the Ingham County Circuit Court in Lansing.

Section (d) states that a card shall also be given to a caregiver stated in the application and that no caregiver have more than 5 patients.

Section (e) states that after a card should be issued no more than five days after approval stating the information of the patient, caregiver, date of issuance and a random id number. The card expires after two years.

Section (f) states that if the physician reports to the department that the condition no longer exists, the card immediately becomes invalid.

Section (g) states that possession of the card does not cause probable cause or reasonable suspicion to search a person or property by law enforcement or other governmental agency.

Section (h) provides rules of confidentiality but does allow law enforcement to verify the authenticity of a card. Patients and caregiver information is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. Disclosure in violation of this subsection is a misdemeanor offense punishable by up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.00.

Section (i) mandates that the Department submit to the legislature an annual report providing the number of applicants filed, number approved by county, number of cards revoked and the number of physicians providing certifications.

Section (j) provides that the Department of Health may employ private companies to assist in the performance of their duties including processing and issuing cards but the department must maintain the final authority in the issuance of cards.

Section (k) provides that the Department should appoint a panel of mostly doctors to review the list of debilitating medical conditions. This panel shall meet two times per year to make recommendations to the department.

Section (l) establishes the Michigan Medical Marijuana Fund which expends money for the operation of the Medical Marijuana program.

Section 7 – Scope of the Act

This section generally states that as long as the use of marijuana is in accordance with the Act then it is allowed under the laws of the State of Michigan. This section also specifically forbids several things including using medical marijuana in a school bus, near a school, in a correctional facility. You cannot smoke maroijuana on any form of public transportation or in any public place. You cannot operate a vehicle or boat while under the influence of marijuana.

It forbids the use of marijuana unless the user has a serious medical or deliberating condition.

This section also makes it a civil infraction to falsely or fraudulently represent to a police officer attempting to use the medical use of marijuana to avoid arrest or prosecution in addition to any penalties that may exist for making a false statement to a police officer.

Section 8 – Affirmative Defenses and Dismissal for Medical Marijuana

Section 8 provides a defense for persons who do and do not have a card. (Sec. 4 applies to only those with a card). If, after an evidentiary hearing, a defendant can satisfy the court by clear and convincing evidence the following three things, their case must be dismissed.

  1. a bona fide physician has stated that the person will receive benefit from the use of marijuana to treat a debilitating illness or condition
  2. the person was not in possession of more marijuana that what was reasonably necessary to treat the condition
  3. the person was engaged in the use of marijuana for the purpose of treating that debilitating condition.

If, after the hearing, a question of fact is established, the section 8 defense may be presented to a jury to decide.

Section 9 –Failure to Issue a Timely Card

If a person submits a valid application or renewal it is deemed valid within 20 days of submission and a copy of the registration application becomes the persons card until he or she receives on in the mail.

Section 10 – Severability

If any section of the act is held to be invalid to any person or circumstance it does not effect the rest of the act that is not invalid for the same reason.

Transportation of Usable Marijuana

Effective December 27, 2012 the legislature enacted this law to preclude patients and caregivers from transporting marijuana in their vehicles stating the marijuana must be in a case in the trunk or readily not accessible to the passengers if there is no trunk.

Violation of this act is a 93 day misdemeanor and up top a $500 fine

Several local courts have found this law to be unconstitutional and unenforceable because it contradicts the section 4 of the MMMA and/or did not seek to amend the MMMA.