Probation & Marijuana

There has been a long running – and completely unnecessary – debate on the issue of the use of Marijuana while on probation to a Court in Michigan.

The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA) was passed by Michigan voters in November of 2008. This Act provided that, if an adult went to a licensed physician in Michigan and the physician diagnosed their patient with a “debilitating medical condition,” the patient could legally have and consume Marijuana. The patient, who was diagnosed with the debilitating medical condition, would then submit their application to the State of Michigan for issuance of a Medical Marijuana Card. This card, once issued, would give the cardholder the legal authority to grow up to 12 plants, have up to 2.5 ounces of useable Marijuana, and be protected from criminal prosecution.

Since the passage of the MMMA in 2008, there has been ongoing criminal cases on the issue of whether Michigan residents over the age of 21 who have a Medical Marijuana Card can use their medication while on probation to Michigan Courts.

Finally, in 2021, the Michigan Court of Appeals has said yes. It should not have taken this long to reach the correct ruling.

In People v Thue, Michigan Court of Appeals No. 353978, published February 11, 2021, the Michigan Court of Appeals held that a Court cannot violate a Defendant’s probation if they have a Medical Marijuana Card.

The reason for the ruling is fairly straight forward. The reasoning goes like this…the provisions of the Michigan Probation Act (that Act allows for probation and sets probation rules) is in conflict with the MMMA. If a Defendant has a Medical Marijuana Card, and is complying with the provisions of the MMMA, their probation may not be violated. Further, as long as the Defendant complies with the MMMA, the Defendant’s use of Medical Marijuana cannot be prohibited.

Now, this does not mean those Defendants over the age of 21 who properly use recreational Marijuana can continue to use recreational Marijuana on probation if the Court precludes it. Just like alcohol, a Court can order a Defendant not to use recreational Marijuana while on probation. However, now a Court cannot stop the use of medical Marijuana while a Defendant is on probation. It only took our appellate courts 12 years to reach the correct decision, but at least now Medical Marijuana card holders do not have to worry about going to jail for using their medication while on probation.

If you have a criminal case in Calhoun County, Lenawee County, Hillsdale County, Washtenaw County, Jackson County, or Ingham County, contact Mr. Brandt about your case.

The information on this website is for informational purposes only. Nothing in this blog should be taken as legal advice for an individual case. This information is not intended to form an attorney-client relationship.

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