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Legal Marijuana Possession Under the MMMA

MMMA refers to the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act. This act was passed in 2008 and allows a licensed patient to grow 12 marijuana plants on their own, or, caregivers to grow 12 marijuana plants for five patients. If an individual is a patient as well as a licensed grower, they may individually grow up to 72 plants. Caregivers cannot possess marijuana in amounts or forms that violate the MMMA. The MMMA states that qualified primary caregivers can possess up to 2.5 ounces of combined usable marijuana equivalents and usable marijuana per patient. This needs to consider any incidental amounts of marijuana stalks, seeds, or usable roots. If you want to know more about legal marijuana possession under the MMMA, or usable marijuana, contact a capable medical marijuana lawyer.

Usable Marijuana

One issue that has been litigated in Michigan relates to the definition of the term usable. In fact, legal marijuana possession under the MMMA can hinge on the usability of the marijuana. In this unpublished case, 68 plants were found all in various states of dryness.   The trial court ruled that usable marijuana does not necessarily have to be dry and ready to smoke and, thus, the 92.8 ounces of seized marijuana, not even considering the amount seized from the traffic stop, was more than the 15 total ounces defendant was permitted to possess under."

In reviewing the trial court transcript, the Michigan Court of Appeals noted that with respect to the seized plant material from the building, the officer consistently testified that the marijuana was "green," "wet," "drying," or in the "drying states."

He testified that, from his understanding, "usable marijuana could be also completely wet marijuana." The Court of Appeals found that "wet marijuana may, indeed, be "usable" in some circumstances, it is not "usable" for purposes of the MMMA. To be usable under the MMMA, the marijuana must be dried."

Amounts of Marijuana a Caregiver Can Possess

When trying to determine usable marijuana equivalents, there are a few things that are the equivalent of one ounce of usable marijuana. This includes 16 ounces in solid form of a marijuana infused product, seven grams in gas form of a marijuana infused product, and 36 ounces in fluid form of a marijuana infused product.  Marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia related to this act or used with medical marijuana by a qualified patient is not subject to seizure. In addition, caregivers can grow up to 12 marijuana plants per qualified patient, so long as the plants are kept in a secure, locked, and enclosed facility.

Each caregiver can have up to five patients, meaning they can grow a total of 60 plants.  If they are also a patient, then this increases the number to 72 plants.  This is the maximum number of plants a registered caregiver can ever grow without first obtaining a commercial medical marijuana growers license.

However, a person cannot be both a registered caregiver and a holder of a medical marijuana grower's license. This preclusion prevents a grower/caregiver with a Class A license (allowing 500 plants) from growing 572 plants. Bear in mind that dominion and control may be enough to increase the number of plants each caregiver may possess. In a case finding that there may only be "one caregiver per crop," the Michigan Supreme Court found that "under the MMMA, possession of marijuana occurs when a person exercises dominion and control over it." Furthermore, that in a situation where 88 plants were found in a shared warehouse unit over which the defendant had "dominion and control" he possessed more than the 24 plants he was allowed.

Speaking With an Attorney

If you have been charged with a medical marijuana offense, get in touch with a medical marijuana attorney. Your lawyer can further explain legal marijuana possession under the MMMA. A medical marijuana lawyer can look at the facts of your case, and build a solid defense for you.

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