In The News

In The News

Friday, June 28, 2013

Michigan Medical Marihuana Patients No Longer Protected By Section 4 Of The MMMA When Transferring Medicine To Another Patient

By Michael Nichols
Categories: Josh Covert, Medical Marijuana

Last Week the Michigan Supreme Court issued an order in People v Green which reversed an earlier ruling by the Michigan Court Of Appeals.  The Defendant, Mr. Green, was charged with distribution of marihuana because he gave some of his medicine to another medical marihuana patient.  “Both Mr. Green and the other patient were legitimate card holding medical marihuana patients and I find it hard to justify the transfer as illegal when there is no sanctioned outlet for a patient to obtain their medicine” says attorney Joshua M. Covert of the Nichols Law Firm.  

The Michigan Supreme Court’s decision follows a similar case, People v McQueen, which held that the transfer of medicine between patients was not protected conduct under section 4 of the MMMA.  Section 4 only protects those who have valid MMMA cards.  Section 4 also only protects registered caregivers who supply medicine to one of their 5 registered patients.   The reasoning in McQueen and then used in Green is that only “medical use” is protected under section 4.  The Court stated that “immunity does not extend to a registered qualifying patient who transfers marijuana to another registered qualifying patient for the transferee’s use because the transferor is not engaging in conduct related to marijuana for the purpose of relieving the transferor’s own condition or symptoms”.  

Fortunately for MMMA patients and caregivers Section 8 of the MMMA may provide protection from prosecution.  Section 8 provides an affirmative defense when a patient’s primary caregiver transfers marihuana to treat the patient’s serious or debilitating medical condition.  Section 8 thereby does not require mutual medicinal benefit when transfers occur between patients and their primary caregiver. 

If you have been charged with distributing medical marihuana call the Nichols Law Firm and speak with an attorney to find out if Section 8 may protect you from prosecution.  Call 517-432-9000.

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Mike Nichols is a national leader in drunk driving defense. He is a member of the Forensic Committee and Michigan delegate to the National College for DUI Defense. He is also a Sustaining Member of the College. Nichols is also a founding member of the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys; a member of the American Chemical Society; an associate member of he American Academy of Forensic Science, Adjunct Professor of Forensic Evidence in Criminal Law and OWI Law and Practice at Cooley Law School. He is also author of the West OWI Practice book and several chapters in other books on science and the law.

Mike Nichols is recognized by his peers in Michigan as a “SuperLawyer” in DUI/Criminal Defense. Nichols has also been asked to speak at conferences by groups such as the NCDD; Various Bar Associations in other states.