The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act: The First 24-Months
The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act: The First 24-Months
This article describes the introduction in the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, that was ratified by referendum in the 2008 general election. It is expected that once it has been put into our human tapestry, the MMA is subject to certain judicial interpretations that are already well-known and has the promise of more in the future. The Michigan Legislature adopted the MMA on December 4, 2008, making Michigan as the thirteenth country to permit the cultivation and use of marijuana to treat medical conditions. The Act cited a series of studies that uncovered the benefits of marijuana for treating nausea as well as other symptoms that result from health conditions that are debilitating. The Act mentions that According to FBI the majority of all marijuana possession-related arrests nationwide are done pursuant to state law, not federal law. It is important to note that possession of the drug is still in violation of federal law.  The MMA defines a "debilitating medical condition" as cancer, glaucoma HIV, the hepatitis C and various other conditions along with other chronic afflictions medical marijuanas doctors ny that can cause nausea and pain. "Primary Caregiver "primary caregiver" is defined as "a person who is at least 21 years old and who has agreed to assist with a patient's medical use of marijuana and who has never been convicted of a felony involving illegal drugs." "A "qualifying patient" is "a person who has been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition." The basic mechanics of the Act state that eligible patients as well as primary care providers (marijuana growers) must possess a "registry identification card", issued by the Department of Community Health. Tens of thousands of applications have been processed; many hundreds of applications are still pending. More are completed each week. The need for certification, especially for marijuana, is seemingly never-ending in Michigan. The demand for pot is understandable. Cardholders are not subject to arrest or prosecution for marijuana possession/distribution provided the patient keeps less than 2.5 ounces of smokeable pot. Care providers are allowed to maintain up to 12 plants for each eligible patient. Stems plants, seeds, and non-usable roots are not considered part of the plant limitation. Physicians also have immunity from prosecution relative to their confirmation of the patient's need for the drug, provided that they perform an evaluation of the patient's medical health history. A legitimate physician-patient relationship is necessary. As of the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Conant vs. Walters on March 23, 2003 physicians have been in a position to recommend to patients the use of marijuana (but cannot prescribe pot by putting the recommendation on an application for prescription). Doctors may also take notes about their recommendations in the patient's medical record and present evidence in support of the patient's medical use of marijuana in a court of law. The Supreme Court's Conant decision was the catalyst to the passage of the MMA. Primary care physicians can earn reimbursement for their marijuana. Selling marijuana-related products is allowed under the MMA The paraphernalia is not able to be confiscated. Persons merely present during the use of marijuana to medical reasons, are also not susceptible to being detained. Sounds too good to be real? If marijuana is offered to people who are not qualifying patients The registration card is removed and the person who distributes it is sentenced to a 2 year crime. Additionally, driving under the influence of marijuana remains illegal, as is smoking marijuana in public. Use or possession of pot at school or school buses is not permitted. Yes, it is unlawful to smoke marijuana in prison or in penitentiaries, regardless of your medical situation. The Act set a short timetable (120-days) for the Department of Community Health to promulgate regulations for the administration of the possession/distribution credential. It was delayed in promulgation of these regulations gave way for confusion in law enforcement agencies, judges, and the general public on what is legally permissible and what is illegal. For instance the 2009 Redden investigation that was brought in Madison Heights involved a couple detained during a raid on drugs. The couple had applied for their certification cards prior to their arrest , and received the cards about a month after their arrest. In dismissing the lawsuit brought against the two defendants, the 43rd District judge Robert Turner characterized the MMA as "the worst piece of legislation I've seen in my life" according to The Detroit News. Judge Turner's dismissal was contested by the Oakland County Prosecutor where it was affirmed by the Oakland County Circuit Court. In the spring of this year this year, earlier this year, the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed Oakland Circuit Court Judge Martha Anderson's decision to reinstate the criminal charges brought against Redden as well as Clark. The defendants Madison Heights couple will either be required to plead guilty or face trial. At the time of the raid on the home of the couple, the Oakland County Sheriff's office seized 1.5 ounces of marijuana as well as some small amounts of cash and around 21 plants. The raid took place three weeks ahead of time, all of the defendants had taken an medical certification exam by Dr. Eric Eisenbud (not the person who was responsible for it) from Colorado (and from the newly launched Hemp and Cannabis Foundation Medical Clinic) and applied for medical marijuana cards in accordance of the MMA. The cards, however, were not issued prior to the raid.  

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