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Michigan State Police Issue New Guidelines On Medical Marijuana


michigan state police medical marijuana guidelinesLANSING- The Michigan State Police have issued another update for their agents and Deputies regarding the legal use of medical marijuana in Michigan. Update #103, dated June 5, brings officers in line with rules that took effect April 1st and with court decisions from earlier this year.

Some of the policies are mandated by changes to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMA) created by the Michigan legislature in 2012. Other changes come as a result of court decisions in cases like People v Koon and People v Bylsma- a decision that was rendered back in December 2012.

The Updates are divided into different sections based on subject. Each contains a boldface summary and an extended explanation of why the change occurred.

Section 1:

The protections of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act extend to a registered qualifying patient who internally possesses marihuana while operating a vehicle unless the patient is under the influence of marihuana.

This originates from People v Koon, decided by the Michigan Supreme Court on May 21, and reverses the information delivered to State Police in their Update #96. The current Update instructs officers that they have a standard to meet before arresting a patient for operating a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana. ”Therefore, officers must be able to articulate facts that support a finding of probable cause that a registered qualifying patient is under the influence of marihuana in order to arrest a registered qualifying patient for violating MCL 257.625(8).”

During recent House of Representatives Judiciary Committee session, Ken Stecker, representing the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan, discussed a new training program that some officers have undergone certifying them to determine impairment based on visual cues and question responses alone.

Section 2:

A registered qualifying patient is not entitled to immunity from arrest, prosecution, or penalty under section 4 of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act for transferring marihuana to another registered qualifying patient. A registered primary caregiver is not entitled to immunity under section 4 of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act for transferring marihuana to anyone other than a registered qualifying patient connected to the caregiver through Michigan’s registration process.

This stems from the case of People v McQueen, decided Feb. 28th, and renders portions of Update #89 invalid. Those  portions quotes the Court of Appeals decision in the case that determined that sale of marijuana was illegal; the Supreme Court determined that sales of marijuana within the confines of the MMA are legal acts.

Two other sentences contained within this Section provide Deputies with direction regarding interactions with marijuana patients. “(T)he Court held that MCL 333.26424 does not offer immunity from arrest, prosecution, or penalty to a registered qualifying patient who transfers marihuana to another registered qualifying patient, nor does it offer immunity to a registered primary caregiver who transfers marihuana to anyone other than a registered qualifying patient to whom the caregiver is connected through Michigan’s registration process.”

“The Court held the terms “using” and “administering,” for purposes of MCL 333.26424(i), are limited to conduct involving the actual ingestion of marihuana… acquiring marihuana was not protected by this section.”

Section 3:

Section 4 of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act does not provide a registered primary caregiver with immunity from arrest, prosecution, or penalty when growing marihuana collectively with other registered primary caregivers and registered qualifying patients.

This Section is the result of yet another Supreme Court case, People v Bylsma, which involved a cultivation operation with a single caregiver and plants belonging to multiple patients. The Court decided this on Dec. 19, 2012, making this information nearly six months overdue.

In summary, the Update offers this direction. “The Court held that for a registered qualifying patient or registered primary caregiver to receive immunity under MCL 333.26424, the “enclosed, locked facility” housing marihuana plants must be such that it allows only one person to possess the marihuana plants in the facility, either the registered qualifying patient or the registered primary caregiver with whom the registered qualifying patient is connected through Michigan’s registration process.”

Section 4:

The Michigan Penal Code amended to include restrictions on transporting usable marihuana in or upon a motor vehicle.

The first of the Sections resulting from legislative changes, the new rules for carrying marijuana in a motor vehicle are outlined here. The Update states marijuana can be transported:

– Enclosed in a case that is carried in the trunk of the vehicle.
– Enclosed in a case that is inaccessible from the interior of the vehicle, if the vehicle in which the person is travelling does not have a trunk.

Section 5:

The definition section of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act was amended, including provisions for growing marihuana plants outdoors.

Although this Section has that phrase at the head, it covers several different changes to marijuana law. Those changes include alteration of the bona fide doctor-patient relationship, new exclusions on who can be a caregiver, proper ways to identify a patient or caregiver and a restriction on access to medical marijuana plants.

Definitions on legal outdoor growing are included in the Update, which says the plants cannot be seen by the unaided eye, the permanent structure must be enclosed on the sides and must be on land owned or rented by the actual caregiver themselves. It also defines legal transport of marijuana plants, including the provision that no one may be in the car except the patient or caregiver themselves during transport.

The Updates are created by the State Police. “This update is published by the Michigan State Police, Office of the Director, Legislative and Legal Resources Section.”

View the complete Update here:

MSP Legal Update No. 103

Source: The Compassion Chronicles


About Author

"Rick Thompson was the Editor in Chief for the entire 2-year run of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine, was the spokesman for the Michigan Association of Compassion Centers and is the current Editor and Lead Blogger for The Compassion Chronicles. Rick has addressed committees in both the House and Senate, has authored over 200 articles on marijuana and is a professional photographer." Rick Thompson Is An Author At The Compassion Chronicles and focuses on all things Michigan.


  1. oblivious217 on

    One of oppositions fears is that children will become increasingly interested in the plant. One: kids already know about marijuana, how can they not. Two: I’m more concerned about my child’s perception of more dangerous substances. I’ve been using marijuana for over 10 years and have never tried or desired another substance. Plenty of law enforcement agents would like to back the end of marijuana prohibition, however none of them want to be the “cop who likes pot”. FYI there’s a program for returning veterans to utilize medical marijuana.

  2. They just need to decriminalize it already, enough of this madness from a PLANT. Their are beer sign after sign’s in Michigan. Alcohol is waaaay worse.

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