The Michigan Court of Appeals on Dec. 20, 2016, issued a written opinion indicating that improperly transporting marihuana unconstitutional. See People v Latz. This means that the statute, MCL § 750.474, indicating how a patient or caregiver must transport his or her usable marihuana is no longer valid here in the State of Michigan. Previously, this statute made it a criminal misdemeanor if violated, but improperly transporting marihuana unconstitutional is not the new standard across the state. Since it passage, the improper transport law has created many issues and concerns for numerous patients and caregivers here in Michigan due to the specific language used in the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA). The MMMA never specifically limited how a patient or caregiver was required to transport their medical marijuana, and thus the improper transport statute seemed to be at odds with the MMMA. This was always an argument, prior to the People v Latz opinion; however, not every lower court had the same opinion.
The court in the end, specifically stated that the improper transport law was in conflict with the MMMA, and because of such conflict, the MMMA would take precedent over the improper transport law, just as any other law that is in conflict with the MMMA would be subjected to. Moreover, the court went on to explain that when “persons comply with the MMMA, it grants “broad” “immunity” from prosecution. As noted, there is no dispute, at least for the purposes of this appeal, that defendant was in compliance with the MMMA.” (citing MCL § 333.26424(a); Braska v Challenge Mfg Co, 307 Mich App 340, 357-358(2014)).
In People v Latz, the Court of Appeals ruling improperly transporting marihuana unconstitutional allows for patients and caregivers to follow the MMMA solely and not be confused by improper criminal statutes. It is worth noting that the Court of Appeals Opinion could potentially be reversed by the Michigan Supreme Court; however, until that occurs the opinion by the Court of Appeals is standing law. Moreover, there are still laws limiting and controlling the transport of certain medical marihuana products, but luckily the punishment for this violation results in a civil infraction rather than a criminal misdemeanor as the improper transport statute did prior to this Court of Appeals’ opinion. Whenever you are involved with a medical marihuana or criminal or traffic issue you should and must always contact and consult with proper legal counsel. Never rely on or use information from this website or another source when attempting, wanting or wishing to defend yourself or a matter within or among the legal system here in Michigan or throughout the United States. Always lawyer-up.