MEDICAL MARIHUANA COLLECTIVE GROWING – People v Bylsma Michigan Supreme Court Opinion
Many people will make People v Bylsma out to be bigger than it is, meaning that this case has negatively impacted the medical marijuana community here in Michigan. However, the case was not without hope and should be read thoroughly prior to rendering judgment.
The Michigan Supreme Court (MSC) analyzed Bylsma very narrowly, at least in regards to its application to the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA). Moreover, the Court only used this narrow analysis for part of its opinion. When the Court looked at Section 4 of the MMMA it determined that Bylsma did not hold immunity for his acts that brought him before the court. The Court held that Bylsma was not without recourse. That recourse is found in Section 8 of the MMMA.
So what was the issue? Bylsma was charged with manufacturing marijuana because he had maintained a warehouse that contained not only his medical marijuana plants (which he was legally allowed to grow), but it also contained plants from other patients. He was not connected to those individuals through the State registry system. These patients were renting space inside the warehouse, and Bylsma was the owner and operator of the warehouse. The other plants, which were not technically owned by Bylsma, were still found to be in possession of Bylsma. i.e. Bylsma was maintaining a medical marihuana collective grow operation.
The Court was concerned, when looking at whether Bylsma possessed the over abundant amount of plants, whether there was a sufficient nexus between him and the contraband, which factors in whether he maintained dominion and control over the contraband. In the end, Bylsma did just this, and thus cannot be afforded immunity in the eyes of Section 4 of the MMMA. However, Bylsma had preserved the right to bring forth the Section 8 affirmative defense.
Because he had preserved this defense he is still allowed to raise it during or before trial, which has yet to occur with his case. The Court affirmed the fact that Bylsma does not have immunity, yet the Court also reversed in part and remanded the case back to the trial court. The trial court was told, by the MSC, that it should look to its opinion and analysis set forth in People v Kolanek, which outlines the analysis of a Section 8 affirmative defense.
At the end of the day, this was not a setback, but instead a clearing of mess that had been created and a reaffirmation of a cornerstone case?Kolanek. Some issues remain, but as time goes on those whom were weary of that fog will see that you still have rights, responsibilities, and avenues of recourse to puff away. It is time for you to be the one creating the fog, but instead of a mess you create tranquility.
PLEASE DO NOT RELY upon any of the information contained in this article when trying to represent yourself. You should always consult with an attorney before relying upon any written advice, article, blog etc.