MI: Medical Marijuana Law Change Can Affect Some Criminal Court Cases


Ida Chinosis uses a marijuana oil extract to control the symptoms of her 7-year-old daughter’s seizures, an effect of her medical condition called 1p26 Deletion Syndrome.

A registered medical marijuana caregiver for her daughter, Michigan’s medical marijuana law has been vague on whether oils and other marijuana products are included in the state law regulating marijuana for medical reasons.

“My concern is they fall into a gray area,” Chinosis said prior to a House vote last Wednesday on three bills meant to clarify parts of the state’s medical marijuana law.

“What happens if I’m reported to DHS,” Chinosis said. “I need to know she’s protected and I’m protected as well.”

House members concurred with the Senate and sent the three-bill package to the governor for his signature.

The legislation covers substances besides smoked marijuana, lays out licensing procedures for provisioning centers, and makes other changes to the eight-year-old law, approved by voter referendum in 2008.

For Chinosis, passage means “I won’t be holding my breath and looking over my shoulder. I know we’re safe and protected and that’s it’s legal.”


Michigan is among 25 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized smoking marijuana as a medical treatment after a 2008 referendum was approved by voters.

Since then, the number of people who use marijuana for medical purposes has grown every year, sometimes by leaps.

There were 4,398 registered patients in 2009, the year after voters approved medical marijuana.

That number jumped to 38,064 in 2010 and has since soared to 182,091 in 2015.

Today, there are 212,928 medical marijuana patients in Michigan.

The rules and regulation of the law were left to the Michigan Legislature to work out, and the the interpretation of it has often fallen to the courts through criminal prosecutions of individuals and caregivers who thought they were complying.

The legislation approved by the House Wednesday, licenses and regulates medical marijuana provisioning centers, growers, processors, transporters and safety facilities. It also allows people to use alternative forms of marijuana for medical reasons, including oils, edibles, liquids and capsules.

The three bills moved by the House are:

• HB4209 – Covers the licensing and regulation of provision centers.

• HB4210 – Includes alternative forms of marijuana under the state’s medical marijuana law.

• HB4827 – Sets up seed-to-sale tracking of medical marijuana.


Jury selection is scheduled to begin Monday morning before Oakland Circuit Judge Nancy Grant in a case against Pete Trzos, whose medical marijuana dispensary in Holly was busted and closed in late January 2013, shortly after it opened.

Trzos was charged with felonies, and the case against him has languished since through stays, motions, appeals, legal interpretations, and now changes in state law.

Dave Rudoi, his attorney, said there are some aspects of the legislation the House approved that can be used as part of his defense and some that can’t.

The legislation allowing other marijuana products besides smoked weed under medical marijuana law was made retroactive, so it does have an impact on some pending legal cases Rudoi said.

But the legislation governing the licensing and provisioning of medical marijuana centers isn’t retroactive, even though it could impact legal cases going forward.

“Pete’s trial is on Monday so this law won’t be effective by Monday,” Rudoi said. “In the minds of juries, it still might have an effect, but no legal effect.”


Another looming issue involves whether medical marijuana patients are allowed to purchase guns.

Marijuana remains a Schedule 1 drug under federal law and illegal to use, even for medical purposes under state law. Purchase of a gun by marijuana users is also prohibited.

A federal appeals court recently ruled that a federal government ban on the sale of guns to medical marijuana card holders does not violate the Second Amendment constitutional right to bear arms.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling applied to the nine Western states that fall under the court’s jurisdiction.

The reply to a query to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office over whether medical marijuana patients can purchase guns came back as a qualified sort of.

There’s nothing preventing medical marijuana patients from purchasing guns in Michigan, as long as they don’t have the active ingredient THC in their systems.

“A medical marijuana card alone does not disqualify a person from purchasing a gun,” the sheriff’s office responded.

Rudoi, the attorney, clarified further.

“You’re allowed to own the gun, you’re not allowed to possess it if the THC is in your system,” he said.

Rudoi said he expects the Western court ruling will be appealed.

News Moderator: Katelyn Baker
Full Article: Medical Marijuana Law Change Can Affect Some Criminal Court Cases
Author: Charles Crumm
Contact: Oakland Press
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Website: Oakland Press