People v. Carlton

In this case the Michigan Court of Appeals decided the meaning of smoking medical marijuana in a “public place”. The defendant Robert Carleton, a medical marijuana patient, was minding his own business and smoking marijuana in the parking lot of the soaring eagle casino in mt pleasant. Consino security observed him to be smaking and called the police. The police charged him with possession of marijuana.

In the opinion, the court referred to the dictionary definition and stated defining the adjective “public” to mean “open to, may be used by, or may or must be shared by, all members of the community; not restricted to the private use of any person or persons; generally accessible”

Despite the fact that a vehicle does have aspedcts of being a private place, the court ruled that the parking lot was very much a public pleace. Therefore, a person cannot smoke medical marijuana in any place that is open to the public, even if it is in the privacy of their vehicle with no one around.

Because a person’s home front porch is generally open to the public, that cannot be a place to legally smoke medical marijuana. If the home was gated and no one without an invitation was able to be present, this is a private place where medical marijuana may legally be smoked. See the difference?

The court noted that the MMMA will only protect patients when they are acting in accordance with the MMMA. If a person is smoking marijuana in a public place, they are violating the act and therefore cannot use the MMMA as protection or as a defense.