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Medical Marijuana Absurdities In Michigan: Patients Can't Share


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Two stories popped up today from the state of Michigan that remind me of the inevitable tragic absurdities we get by trying to separate patients from "criminals." Wrap your mind around these latest examples of legal bureaucracy facing sick people who just want to use marijuana under theMichigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA).


In Nashville, Michigan, there was this patient namedTony Allen Green.  Tony had a valid patient registry card.  Tony had less than 2.5 ounces of marijuana on him, as allowed by law.


Tony has a friend named Al Thornton.  Al was a patient who just applied for a valid patient registry card.  However, under Michigan law, after 20 days his application (along with his doctor's recommendation to use cannabis medically) becomes just as valid as a registry card.


Tony, a legal patient, gave some of his marijuana (less than 2.5 ounces) to Al, a legal patient.  Somehow, police become involved.  They do not arrest Al, for he is now holding less than 2.5 ounces of marijuana, but they do arrest Tony, for giving Al less than 2.5 ounces of marijuana.


Now, isn't that silly?  Tony can sit around puffing joint after joint of his 2.5 ounces.  Al could sit right next to him and do the same.  But if either of them pass a joint to the other, it's a crime?


The Barry County Circuit Judge agreed that was silly.  Section 4 of the MMMA clearly allows patients to have 2.5 ounces.  They were both legal patients. The judge dismissed the marijuana delivery charge against Tony.


Prosecutors appealed the dismissal.  As they read Section 4, they could only find protection for Tony's and Al's possession of marijuana.  They didn't see anything protecting the delivery of marijuana.  The Court of Appeals, however, upheld the Barry County judge's dismissal, writing, "the MMMA does not place any restrictions on the transfer or delivery of marijuana between adult patients, and we decline to read any such restriction into the act."


Unfortunately for Tony, the Supreme Court of Michigan disagreed.  They have now reinstated the delivery charges against Tony.  The Court relies on its February decision in the case of Michigan v. McQueen where they held, "immunity does not extend to a registered qualifying patient who transfers marijuana to another registered qualifying patient for the transferee's use because the transferor is not engaging in conduct related to marijuana for the purpose of relieving the transferor's own condition or symptoms."


Got that?  Tony can puff joints all day from his 2.5 ounces because that benefits him medically.  But giving marijuana to Al does not benefit Tony medically, so that transfer is a crime.  Although Al can then go ahead and puff the joints Tony gave him, because that benefits him medically and isn't a crime.


Then there's the case of Benjamin Curtin Walburg.  Four years ago, police caught him growing 25 marijuana plants.  Ben didn't have his medical marijuana card, so he was charged with possession and manufacture of marijuana, a felony that could put Ben behind bars for seven years.


Ben argued that he suffers from severe anxiety and insomnia and he had a recommendation from his doctor for medical cannabis use.  Michigan had just passed the MMMA a few months prior to Ben's arrest.  That was enough for Ottawa County Circuit Judge Edward Post to dismiss the charges against Ben.


Prosecutors appealed the dismissal, arguing that despite Ben's recommendation, 25 plants was more than twice the twelve plant limit written into the MMMA.  The Court of Appeals disagreed with the prosecutor that only 12 plants are allowed under MMMA.  The Court noted Section 8 of the MMMAwhich provides an affirmative defense for a patient who is "collectively in possession of a quantity of marihuana that was not more than was reasonably necessary to ensure the uninterrupted availability of marihuana for the purpose of treating or alleviating the patient's serious or debilitating medical condition."  As the Court noted, "unfortunately, the Legislature neglected to define the term 'reasonably necessary' within the statute, leaving it open to interpretation based on the individual circumstances of each case."


So the Court of Appeals upheld the Ottawa judge?  No.  The Court sent the case back to Ottawa County so that court could give their interpretation based on the individual facts of the case.


Meanwhile, the Michigan Supreme Court has ruled on the cases of People v. Kolanek and People v. Kingwhich clarified that a person must have their medical marijuana registry card or doctor's authorization before they possess or grow marijuana and must display their card or recommendation at the grow site to qualify for any medical defense.  Therefore, Ben could still face the felony manufacture charge in Ottawa County.


Thankfully, the Ottawa County Prosecutor decided to cut Ben some slack, since the law was so unclear just months after passage.  He allowed Ben to plead guilty to misdemeanor possession with no jail or probation.  So, yes, Ben has to check "Have you ever been convicted of a drug-related crime?" on any employment applications and his shot at some government jobs and security clearances is gone... but at least he's not in prison.


Those are just two patients whose lives were turned upside down for the past four years while Michigan courts tried to make sense of their program to separate patients from "criminals."  Two patients who ended up being "criminals" anyway.  Wouldn't it just be easier to legalize marijuana for all adult uses and stop trying to determine who's healthy enough (or didn't follow the rules properly) to put in a cage over pot?


 


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/russ-belville/medical-marijuana-michigan_b_3474514.html

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You aren't supposed to share any of your medications. 

 

 You are not supposed to give your vicodins or pennicillin to other patients.

 

So it is not absurd... it is just a total bummer because of how the program is and it SHOULD be allowed for a patient to give cannabis to another patient. Unfortuntaely MPP did not write into our law that kind of transfer as they have in a few other states.

 

 So to me not absurd... just lame.

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You aren't supposed to share any of your medications. 

 

 You are not supposed to give your vicodins or pennicillin to other patients.

 

So it is not absurd... it is just a total bummer because of how the program is and it SHOULD be allowed for a patient to give cannabis to another patient. Unfortuntaely MPP did not write into our law that kind of transfer as they have in a few other states.

 

 So to me not absurd... just lame.

 

The entire system is ALL about people sharing meds.

 

A caregiver shares the meds he/she grew with their patient.

 

You CAN'T go to CVS for cannabis. CVS isn't limited to helping five people. To compare it to any prescription drug is absurd.

Edited by peanutbutter
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Unfortunately, I don't see anywhere in the law where it says that this system is about sharing your medicine with other patients. 

 

The spirit of the Law was to allow citizens with the specified conditions to have the use of cannabis to help mitigate the negative effects of these conditions.

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You aren't supposed to share any of your medications. 

 

 You are not supposed to give your vicodins or pennicillin to other patients.

 

So it is not absurd... it is just a total bummer because of how the program is and it SHOULD be allowed for a patient to give cannabis to another patient. Unfortuntaely MPP did not write into our law that kind of transfer as they have in a few other states.

 chamomile

 So to me not absurd... just lame.

Except that this is not a synthetic or dangerous drug I would agree. It is a garden herb with demonstrated medicinal uses, much like chamomile, peppermint, or even rosemary. That it has a pronounced short acting intoxicant effect, which is not proven to cause impairment except at very high doses or in the uninitiated is well enough understood, but so did spinning around on the lawn till we fell down as kids.

 

Both absurd and lame.

Edited by GregS
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The entire system is ALL about people sharing meds.

.

That's the kind of thinking that gets people arrested. We know how the courts have ruled and need to deal with reality, not how we imagine things should be.

 

A patient can obtain their meds from anywhere and are protected under the law, but nobody can legally give it to them except their registered caregiver.

 

That's my understanding of our current situation and I would hate to be the one to give someone the wrong impression and get them arrested.

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Passing a lit joint to a patient would be protected by 4(i) in my opinion.

 

 Possibly. :-)

 

 I would assume that protection of helping with use is lost once you yourself partake in the same joint.  One person is 'using' someone elses medicine, not just facilitating  the use or administration.

 

 But that is not 100% clear.

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The entire system is ALL about people sharing meds.

 

A caregiver shares the meds he/she grew with their patient.

 

You CAN'T go to CVS for cannabis. CVS isn't limited to helping five people. To compare it to any prescription drug is absurd.

i agree it used to be  but not now

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Let us say that patient A has 2.5 ounces of a sativa, and patient B has 2.5 ounces of an indicia. Each patient discovers that what they have is not working as they wish. They trade 1.125 ounces. This new mixture proves to be a medical beneficial mixture for both parties.

 

Would this be approved under the SC ruling where they held, "immunity does not extend to a registered qualifying patient who transfers marijuana to another registered qualifying patient for the transferee's use because the transferor is not engaging in conduct related to marijuana for the purpose of relieving the transferor's own condition or symptoms."?

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Let us say that patient A has 2.5 ounces of a sativa, and patient B has 2.5 ounces of an indicia. Each patient discovers that what they have is not working as they wish. They trade 1.125 ounces. This new mixture proves to be a medical beneficial mixture for both parties.

 

Would this be approved under the SC ruling where they held, "immunity does not extend to a registered qualifying patient who transfers marijuana to another registered qualifying patient for the transferee's use because the transferor is not engaging in conduct related to marijuana for the purpose of relieving the transferor's own condition or symptoms."?

Works for me sounds like what i voted for and the other 63% did

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Let us say that patient A has 2.5 ounces of a sativa, and patient B has 2.5 ounces of an indicia. Each patient discovers that what they have is not working as they wish. They trade 1.125 ounces. This new mixture proves to be a medical beneficial mixture for both parties.

 

Would this be approved under the SC ruling where they held, "immunity does not extend to a registered qualifying patient who transfers marijuana to another registered qualifying patient for the transferee's use because the transferor is not engaging in conduct related to marijuana for the purpose of relieving the transferor's own condition or symptoms."?

Both parties in this transaction are engaging in "medical use"

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Agreed.  Nowhere in that sentence does it say anything about sharing.

Oh not so quick! Would it not be implied? Let's look at the description of sharing and we can see that that would be the appropriate way to alleviate the situation. 

 

"Sharing is the joint use of a resource or space. In its narrow sense, it refers to joint or alternating use of an inherently finite good, such as a common pasture or a shared residence."

 

Whatever happened to the old Coop idea. I think that would be very workable. Something on the line of the Farmers Market. But with accountability. Joint Sharing the new way to Share.  Share a joint. Share a box! [2.5zs]. Share that!

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I believe the correct way to interpret our act is whichever way helps the least amount of people. Anything else and someone somewhere might make a dollar.

 

Very absurd. The rest of the country is marching towards open distribution while we are steadily moving backwards. Supported in full by the usual crowd.

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I believe the correct way to interpret our act is whichever way helps the least amount of people. Anything else and someone somewhere might make a dollar.

 

Very absurd. The rest of the country is marching towards open distribution while we are steadily moving backwards. Supported in full by the usual crowd.

 

I concur, the most restrictive is best. That way it's super hard to help one another. :)

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The entire system is ALL about people sharing meds.

 

A caregiver shares the meds he/she grew with their patient.

 

You CAN'T go to CVS for cannabis. CVS isn't limited to helping five people. To compare it to any prescription drug is absurd.

cvs doesnt give you samples either, and they most def dont want you to share your meds with your friends!

 

man mm is supposed to be medicine, not a beer you can fill a cooler with and share with anyone that comes over, I dont know why so many people are so ignorant!

 

Im sorry p.b but when a c.g shares with a pt, it means the c.g is getting it to his/her pt and they have an agreement, it dont mean the c.g is going to the pts house everyday and burning with them!

 

Peace

Jim

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Medicine does not exclusively refer to a prescription that is only usable by a single individual. That is part of the problem. People view medicine in the context that it is only produced by pharmaceutical companies. There is nothing about the concept of medical marijuana that prevents it being shared between people. If it provides benefit then it should be able to be tossed in a cooler and shared by anyone that it provides a benefit to.

 

Our law does not allow this and that is absurd. It is a plant that is able to function as a medicine, in addition to other uses. Pink bismuth(pepto bismal) is a medicine, that can be shared freely by anyone. This is no different. Same with antihistamines, APAP, etc.

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I believe the correct way to interpret our act is whichever way helps the least amount of people. Anything else and someone somewhere might make a dollar.

 

Very absurd. The rest of the country is marching towards open distribution while we are steadily moving backwards. Supported in full by the usual crowd.

 

 

Cry to the feds then.  We didn't write the law, MPP did.  It wasn't perfect, not by a long shot, but I wouldn't trade it for many other states. We still have grow rights......For now.

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