HIRE AN EXPERIENCED MEDICAL MARIJUANA ATTORNEY
By David Rudoi Esq.
July 22, 2013
On July 11, 2013 the Michigan Court of Appeals issued its opinion in the case of People v. Carruthers. The case involved the issue of whether marijuana edibles made from marijuana extract are protected under Section 4 of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. Defendant was charged and convicted of possession with intent to distribute marijuana. Among the marijuana Defendant was found in possession of were brownies that were individually labeled as weighing 3.1 ounces and containing 2 grams of marijuana. However, the brownies did not actually contain marijuana but contained “Cannabutter” or rather butter that was used to extract THC and other chemicals that marijuana contains.
Section 4 of the MMMA creates an immunity for the possession of “Usable Marijuana” under certain conditions. The court in People v. Carruthers focused on the differences between the definitions of “Usable Marihuana” as contained in section 3 of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act and the definition of Marijuana as contained in the Michigan Public Health Code . The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act defines “Usable marihuana” as
“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).]
While the Michigan Public Health Code defines “Marijuana” as:
“All parts of the plant Cannabis sativa L., growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of the plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant or its seeds or resin. It does not include the mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced from the stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of the mature stalks, except the resin extracted therefrom, fiber, oil or cake, or the sterilized seed of the plant which is incapable of germination. [MCL 333.7106(3).]
The Court in People v. Carruthers ruled that the definition of Usable Marijuana contained in the MMMA is narrower than the definition found in the Public Health Code. Specifically, “Marijuana” under the Public Health Code includes all parts of the cannabis plant as well as the resin extracted from any part of the plant as well as any every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant or its seeds or resin. However, the definition of “usable marihuana under the MMMA does not include all parts of the cannabis plant, nor does it include the resin extracted from the plant or every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant or its seeds or resin.
Carruthers argued that marijuana extract is a mixture or preperation of the Marijuana flower and leaves and therefore should be considered usable marijuana within the definition contained in the MMMA section 3. However, the Michigan Court of Appeals found that because the definition of “usable marihuana”as contained in the MMMA section 3 specifically omits any reference to the resin extracted from the plant that it must have meant to exclude the resin extracted from the plant and therefore any preperation of the resin extracted from the plant cannot be considered ‘usable marihuana”.
The court also reasoned that the voters did not intend for marijuana extracts to be protected under the MMMA because of the strong potency and the fact that extract in an edible cannot be measured. The problem is that this is not true, marijuana extract in an edible can be measued the but the state lab is just currently incapable. Further, the potency of the extract serves the health and wellfare because it allows patients to maximize THC intake and minimize intake of other harmful chemicals. For these reasons I believe that the Michigan Court of Appeals incorrectly decided this case!
Marijuana Edibles are still protected under Section 4 of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act but they must be made with the actual leaves and flowers and not from extract. All resins and extracts of Marijuana are currently not protected under Section 4 of the MMMA but may still be defendable under the MMMA Section 8 Affirmative Defense. At Rudoi Law we are Medical Marijuana experts and can help you to learn your rights and protections under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act and its connected case law.
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