St. Joseph Michigan Criminal Defense Blog

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Court Denies Medical Marijuana Caregiver Protection Under Statute

Medical Marijuana Caregiver Protection

A recent Court of Appeals case has put further limits on the already narrow protections of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA). This time the court withdrew the protection of caregivers the ones who many qualified patients turn to for a safe supply of medical marijuana if those caregivers did not meet a certain standard of care previously reserved for medical professionals.

Under the plain language of the statute, qualified patients and their caregivers are entitled to a presumption that their marijuana use was for medical purposes as long as they are complying with the statute. But the court rule that the presumption is only between the patient and the court. Caregivers cannot rely on the fact that a person presents a medical marijuana ID card to assume that presumption will extend to them.

Instead, the court ruled that because the caregiver in the case could not describe the debilitating condition and the treatment regimens for each of his qualified patients, that was sufficient evidence to refute the presumption of medical use. The prosecutor in the case had questioned the caregiver about the patients’ conditions, doctors, and advised treatment. When the caregiver couldn’t answer the question, the trial court and later the appeals court, said that he could not have been assisting them in their medical use without that knowledge.

As a result of this case, licensed caregivers under the MMMA, will now be held to a standard of medical care in order to qualify for protection from prosecution under the statute. In particular, caregivers need to be prepared to ask:

  • Who their patients’ treating physicians are;
  • Whether the physicians are continuing treatment;
  • What the patients’ debilitating conditions are;
  • What the recommended dosage of marijuana is for each patient;
  • How long each patient should receive marijuana treatments.

Without that information, a caregiver may be subject to prosecution even though they carry a medical marijuana ID card and only provide to qualifying patients. If you have been charged with marijuana possession or distribution, call Attorney Peter J. Johnson at 269-982-1100 for a consultation.

*Please note:  Every case is different, and there may be some aspect of your particular case which may result in an outcome other than is described 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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