Jump to content

Michigan Medical Marijuana Law Requires Patient To Be A Resident, Appeals Court Rules

Recommended Posts

LANSING -- A Michigan appeals court ruled this week that the state's medical marijuana law requires cardholders to be Michigan residents, and held that immunity from prosecution under the law is a question for a judge, not a jury, to decide.

The ruling came in a 2011 Berrien County case where police stopped a woman, Cynthia Cherelle Jones, who was weaving in and out of traffic. While conducting the traffic stop, police received permission to search Jones' vehicle and found eight bags of marijuana totaling five ounces as well as medical marijuana registry cards belonging to Jones and others.

Jones sought to claim immunity under the state's medical marijuana act, which protects registered patients from prosecution, while prosecutors argued Jones was not entitled to the immunity because she was not a Michigan resident when she applied for her card or when she was arrested.

The trial court determined that questions of fact existed about the immunity defense which a jury would have to decide. A panel of Michigan Court of Appeals judges ruled that because the immunity in the medical marijuana law protects patients from arrest and prosecution, the decision of whether or not immunity applies to a defendant should be made before the case ever goes to a jury.

"For this protection to have meaningful effect, the immunity must be afforded at the earliest possible stages of any investigation or subsequent court proceedings," the opinion states.

The court held that residency is a key component of the immunity, however, because the statute contains explicit provisions which protect visiting patients from out of state as well as make reference to "the health and welfare of its (Michigan's) citizens."

"In light of the reference to Michigan citizens, and the provisions regarding a visiting qualifying patient in the MMMA, we agree with the trial court that Michigan residency is a prerequisite to the issuance and valid possession of a registry identification card," the opinion states.

The case was remanded back to the trial court for further proceedings as a result of the appellate decision.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

actually there was a case recently that i looked at where the defendant charges were dismissed

because the law changed after they were charged.




In contrast, Newburg Law attorneys argued that even if the McQueen decisions prohibited the Defendants’ conduct, the Defendants should not be held criminally liable because they largely acted before those opinions were released. In short, that it would be unconstitutional to punish them when they were not properly on notice of what conduct is prohibited.


However, the Court then agreed with Newburg Law’s argument and said, despite the opinion of the Michigan Court of Appeals and the Michigan Supreme Court, the 17 felony charges should be dismissed. Judge Aquilina wrote: “[t]o hold defendant criminally liable in this action based on the Michigan Supreme Court’s clarification of the ambiguous provisions in McQueen operates as an Ex Post Facto law and is unconstitutional.”  


well, it could be appealed. but i think thats what you were wondering. 'ex post facto law'.




heres an interesting blog post from rockind law about sec8 while i was looking for the above url:


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...