Probable Cause To Search MMMA Cardholder
The Court of Appeals has recently determined that a Magistrate is allowed to issue a search and seizure warrant without the police officer first determining whether the individual is a Michigan medical marihuana cardholder. Yes, that was a confusing sentence. Let?s see if that idea of whether probable cause to search MMMA cardholder exists can be expressed in simpler terms.
Ultimately, the court concluded that an officer is allowed to obtain a warrant to search an individual?s home without first establishing whether that individual is legally cultivating, using or possessing medical marijuana as allowed under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA). This means that an officer could have probable cause to search MMMA cardholder even though the cardholder is technically committing a legal act. See People v Brown. The Court ultimately held that the officer does not need to be proactive in determining whether the individual suspected of illegal activity is a MMMA cardholder.
The court based its conclusion on the fact that cultivating, using and possessing marijuana is technically illegal, unless the individual was obeying the requirements set out in the MMMA. In Brown, the issue was whether the officer had probable cause to search MMMA cardholder or obtain a warrant based upon clippings and other materials found in the defendant?s garbage. The court indicated that such evidence constituted a reasonable conclusion that illegal activity was occurring in the defendant?s home, and thus the warrant issued by the magistrate was valid and the evidence entered into evidence during trial was not suppressed. Therefore, there was probable cause to search MMMA cardholder because the police did not know the individual was a MMMA cardholder prior to obtaining a search warrant.
When reading the opinion, it will be easily noticeable that facts were limited and not really discussed, so in order to discuss the actual impact on a medical marijuana cardholder more facts would be needed to determine is there is probable cause to search MMMA cardholder in another given situation or criminal case. But what can be said is that medical marijuana users will want to be careful and expressly show their medical marijuana card when confronted by police officers and engaged in the medical use of marihuana.
Anytime you are faced with legal issues that involve the MMMA, you need to contact an attorney that understands the Act?s limits. Do not hesitate or believe that the Act will simply protect you in every possibility. There is still a large amount of smoke that hovers of the rights of medical marijuana patients and caregivers. Make sure you have Josh Jones protecting those rights.
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