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High Times: Michigan Probationers Allowed Medical Marijuana

Feb 24 | 2021  by

Medical marijuana is cannabis prescribed by a physician to treat numerous chronic illnesses, diseases, and conditions. However, individuals on criminal probation are not allowed to use cannabis, even with a valid medical prescription. But in the wake of a recent Michigan Court of Appeals ruling, judges can no longer ban probationers from using cannabis if they are a Michigan medical marijuana patient.

On February 11, 2021, State Court of Appeals judges, Mark J. Kavanaugh, Thomas C. Cameron, and Deborah A. Servitto, resolved that the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act overrules current laws that allow judges to limit a wide variety of legal activity. This ruling reaffirms that any resident on probation and a valid medical marijuana patient is exempt from any penalty involving the use of cannabis – as long as it does not violate any medical marijuana possession laws.

The Court of Appeals’ decision stems from an initial case back in June of 2019, when a Traverse City resident pleaded guilty to a road-rage incident involving assault and battery. The individual was sentenced to a year of probation, but without permission to use medical marijuana despite his state-registered status.

This policy has become widely used across Michigan courts, applied not only when judges set conditions for probation but also when defendants are released on bond, and when offenders are paroled. In fact, a Royal Oak criminal defense attorney estimates that more than half of the judges in metro Detroit routinely prohibit any use of medical marijuana by defendants. Considering we are past the 10-year mark for the MMMA’s passing, this is concerning. 

According to Grand Traverse County Prosecutor, Noelle Moeggenberg:

“There are no plans to appeal.” She believes that the ruling may cause a lot of problems but she also exclaims that “…the reasoning of the court is sound. For those who are currently on probation and have a current and valid medical marijuana card, probation may not be revoked if they are using in compliance with the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.”

If you are a registered medical marijuana patient charged with a marijuana crime, contact Attorney Terry Priest of Fausone & Grysko today. Terry Priest can be reached by phone at (248) 380-0000.