Despite the negative turn events in the past few weeks with the COA ruling in United States v. Jones and People v. Carruthers, I am reminded of recent periods in the history of the implementation of the MMMA and comparisons that can be made. The Carruthers case without doubt signifies a huge step backward for our community. The idea that the 3 million people who approved of the use of Medical Marijuana in 2008 believed that the only method of delivery of cannabis would be smoking is laughable. The ruling signifies the irrational approach to interpreting the MMMA, via a public safety philosophy instead of as a public health issue. The Carruthers ruling, a ruling in the COA (not yet heard by the Michigan Supreme Court), is reminiscent of the People v Koon COA decision which was later overturned by the Michigan Supreme Court in favor of a more realistic and rational conclusion. Further, despite never having been used as a legal basis to author an opinion, the MSC, in overturning the COA, identified, codified and amplified Section 7e of the MMMA, which states:
333.26427 Scope of act; limitations.
7. Scope of Act.
(e) All other acts and parts of acts inconsistent with this act do not apply to the medical use of marihuana as provided for by this act.
In other words, as a community that wonders what in the world the COA was thinking when they concluded that patients are subject to arrest for possession of edibles, the MSC not only corrected the error but additionally identified this important aspect of the MMMA. While it has yet to be mentioned in any other cases, its use in the MSC opinion is significant and something that would never have happened but for the terrible ruling of the COA in Koon. The Same can be said for People v. King, where the COA concluded that section 4 and section 8 were connected to one another via section 7a (later amended and removed from the act in April, 2013), and if a patient violated section 4 in any way a medical marijuana defense was precluded. After 19 COA opinions supporting this analysis, the MSC, in a 7-0 unanimous opinion, rejected the COA and provided patients and caregivers what has now become known as the Section 8 affirmative defense. The MSC cases that followed after King, Byslma, Anderson, Mcqueen, and Koon all lowered the bar and the standard of proof necessary to obtain a dismissal of the charges or to get in front of a jury and present a medical marihuana defense. It is important to be mindful that the MSC has disagreed unanimously before and we should be resilient until the final determination on People v. Carruthers is addressed by the highest Court in Michigan.
Our Mission at the MMMA has always been to be acknowledged as the state-wide leader in providing services, advocacy and information to medical marijuana patients, caregivers, health care providers and their community. In the coming months, we plan to expand our paid membership so that we may better serve our community in the time of need. In conjunction with this strategy will be many additional services including discount purchases of goods and services via our online store. Additionally, a prepaid membership for those interested in discounted legal counselling, compliance advice, and even representation is now available.
There is much work to be done before the patients and caregivers of our community can have the peace of mind that they deserve. Until we get to that point, the MMMA plans to be the organization that this community can depend on and call its own. Thank you for reading, participating with our organization and taking part in this important time in the history of Michigan and the United States.
Very Truly Yours,
Michael A. Komorn, President