St. Joseph Michigan Criminal Defense Blog

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Court Says No To Cannabutter


A recent Michigan Court of Appeals decision has narrowed the scope of protected marihuana use in the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA). As a result of this opinion, registered patients will no longer be allowed to use resin-based products under Section 4.

Section 4 of the MMMA protects registered patients and their caregiver from arrest or prosecution as long as they stay within the limits of that section. But that section only protects the possession or use of a small amount of usable marihuana. According to the MMMA, that means the dried leaves and flowers of the marihuana plant, and any mixture or preparation thereof, but does not include the seeds, stalks, and roots of the plant. MCL 333.26423(k).

In People v. Carruthers, the Defendant was a caregiver for 4 qualified patients. He was stopped for driving on a suspended license while carrying a small amount of smokable marijuana and several brownies made with Cannabutter made from the resin of the marijuana plant.

The prosecutor and the defense disagreed on how the brownies’ weight should be calculated. After the defendant was convicted, he appealed and asked the Court of Appeals to consider how much weight should have counted.

The Court of Appeals went further. It said that the amount of THC in the brownies was irrelevant because it was not made from the leaves or flowers of the plant, so it was not protected as usable marijuana.

The only option left to the Defendant was to assert the affirmative defense under Section 8, which uses a much broader definition of marijuana that specifically includes resin. The Court remanded the case for a hearing under Section 8.

*Please note: Every case is different, and there may be some aspect of your particular cas which may result in an outsome other than is descriged above. This post is not intended as legal advice and may not apply to your particular case. It is always best to contact our office for a consultation if you have been or believe you may be charged with a crime.

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