Michigan Court of Appeals Weighs In on "Wet Marijuana"

Kalamazoo criminal defense attorney

The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) was approved by Michigan voters on November 4, 2008. At point close to the MMMA's ten year anniversary, the Michigan Court of Appeals recently weighed in on the legality of "wet marijuana," or unusable marijuana. Wet Marijuana relates to a point in the process between harvesting the plant and when it is dried and ready for consumption. In People v Mansour, it appears that the court made it illegal for patients and caregivers to possess unusable marijuana in any quantity.

Mansour was a registered medical marijuana patient, and law enforcement discovered marijuana in various states of processing while searching her home. Mansour argued that the wet marijuana was unusable, so it should be excluded when considering a claim of immunity under § 4 of the MMMA. The statute allows for certain immunities and defines what quantities and forms of marijuana a qualifying individual can possess and still seek immunity. Mansour relied on People v Manuel and language in MCL 333.26424(a) concerning incidental or unusable parts of the plant. The court of appeals decided against Mansour and upheld the circuit court's decision. The court relied on the second prong of a two prong test in the earlier decision of People v Carruthers and amendments to the qualifying language in the statute. 

The court essentially held that an individual in possession of any amount of marijuana that does not qualify as usable marijuana, i.e. unusable or wet marijuana, cannot qualify for immunity under the statute. In other words, the possession of unusable marijuana in any quantity will prevent an individual from invoking immunity under § 4 of the statute. This presents a quandary because there will always be wet marijuana at some point during the processing; one cannot get from plant to dried product without also possessing wet marijuana. Mansour plans to appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court, so there may be more clarity in a future opinion.  

Anyone facing marijuana related criminal charges should seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney.    

Tags: criminal defense attorney, criminal defense lawyer, Kalamazoo criminal defense, possession of marijuana

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