Jan 31, 2013

Small Pot Transfers Between Patients Immune Under Medical Marijuana Act

In a significant decision further deepening Michigan's medical marijuana jurisprudence, the Michigan Court of Appeals, in the case of People v Tony Green, held that non-compensated marijuana transfers from one registered medical marijuana patient to another are immune from prosecution under section 4 of the Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA).

This case is significant for two reasons.  First, the MMMA does not provide for a pot distribution scheme allowing care providers to sell their wares; the Act is quite vague on the subject of transfer and distribution of pot.  In reading the Act, it appears that the only way to legally transfer marijuana from care provider to patient [and now, thanks to this decision, from patient to patient] is the old-fashioned "hippy" way of bartering and gifting; you cannot do cash transactions.

Second, the Tony Green case is significant because it is a published decision, making it binding on trial courts throughout Michigan.

The undisputed facts of the case have Tony Green making a small, uncompensated marijuana transfer to another patient.  The amount of marijuana involved was less than the 2.5 ounce limit set forth in the MMMA, and the person Green was giving the marijuana to was also a certified patient under the Act.  [Technically, the person Green gave the pot to had not yet received his registration card but had submitted his application more than 20-days prior to receiving the medical marijuana donation from Green.]

The Court of Appeals held that such a non-compensated transfer between two marijuana patients is a "medical use" of marijuana expressly authorized by the MMMA.  Thus, such transfers are immune from prosecution.

Folks, you don't need us here at the Law Blogger to tell you that such "hippy" transfers are not the norm in the medical marijuana industry.  Pot farmers are not growing, er, medical marijuana as a hobby; they are growing pot to make money.

On this note, the Michigan Supreme Court heard oral argument last fall on a case presenting the issue of whether the MMMA provides immunity for cash sales of marijuana.  So, we shall have our answer soon.

Stay tuned...



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