Usable Marihuana Definition Again Limited In People v Mansour
In the summer of 2018, the Court of Appeal issued an opinion in People v Mansour, that limited the definition of usable marihuana here in Michigan for medical marijuana patients and caregivers. The court looked at a case where the individual was growing marihuana and drying marihuana when the police executed a search on his residence. The defendant in the case raised an immunity defense in the trial court and presented an expert witness on the subject of the drying marihuana that was found. In the case, defense was arguing that the drying marihuana was not defined as usable marihuana, which in turn would not be countable for the weight restrictions enforced by the MMMA.
However, the Court of Appeals did not agree with the defendant entirely. It opined that usable marihuana is not the same as drying marihuana, and thus the amount of drying marihuana could not be used when determining the weight of usable marihuana the defendant had in his possession at the time of the search on his residence. The court went on to explain that even though the usable marihuana weight restriction is not influenced by the amount of marihuana that the defendant had in his possession, since it was drying, the defendant still did not have a valid claim to immunity or an affirmative defense under the MMMA. The court’s reasoning behind the opinion was that since the MMMA does not identify that drying marihuana is allowed under the act, and since it was not usable marihuana, the defendant was in violation of state law as he was not able to afford himself of the MMMA. Essentially, the court bifurcated the multiple variations of marihuana, as it grows from plant to buds, but it then excluded it from the MMMA. In the end, this opinion essentially makes the harvesting or drying of marihuana a complete violation of the MMMA, which becomes a problem for many patients and caregivers attempting to obtain a final product consisting of usable marihuana.
This was an interesting, and sadly disappointing, opinion by the Michigan Court of Appeals. I assume that the defense in the case will attempt to appeal the decision; however, whether the Michigan Supreme Court decides to hear the issue will be left for the future to decide. At the time of writing this article, the author is unaware if an appeal has been filed on the matter. With that said, it is so highly important to consult and contact counsel when attempting or wanting to act under the MMMA. Even though the act has now been around for a decade, the issues and fog created by the act have not lifted. The limiting of what constitutes usable marihuana has only become more convoluted with this opinion.