Are You Transporting Your Medical Marijuana Improperly in Michigan?
Update: The Michigan Court of Appeals finds improper transportation of medical marijuana not valid. This means that it violates the MMMA and you can no longer be convicted. A relatively new misdemeanor criminal charge is showing up more often on many court dockets in Michigan. On December 27, 2012, a new law was passed (Public Act 460) which states that medicinal marijuana must be enclosed in a case that is stored in the trunk of a motor vehicle or self propelled vehicle. To qualify as a “motor vehicle”, it must contain both an engine and be used for land based travel. Some examples include cars, trucks, ATVs, 4 Wheelers, Snowmobiles, Mopeds, etc. This law doesn’t apply to boats, skateboards, and bicycles that are powered by a human. This law only applies to both medical marijuana caregivers and patients. If you are not a patient or a caregiver under the MMMA, you will be prosecuted under more traditional marijuana laws.
This law seems like it’s meant to harass patients and caregivers more than help clear confusion and it certainly violates the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act that was passed overwhelmingly by Michigan residents. The MMMA states that if a patient/caregiver complies fully w/ the act that they will not be subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any way. Unfortunately, this new law is not contained inside the MMMA. They could have amended the Act, but Owosso Republican state Rep. Ben Glardon, who introduced the bill, claims that “that was not politically viable at the time.”
What is the Medical Marijuana Transport and Possession Law?
750.474 Transportation or possession of usable marihuana; violation as misdemeanor; penalty.
(1) A person shall not transport or possess usable marihuana as defined in section 26423 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.26423, in or upon a motor vehicle or any self-propelled vehicle designed for land travel unless the usable marihuana is 1 or more of the following:
(a) Enclosed in a case that is carried in the trunk of the vehicle.
(b) Enclosed in a case that is not readily accessible from the interior of the vehicle, if the vehicle in which the person is traveling does not have a trunk.
(2) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both.
How Do I Safely Transport My Usable Medical Marijuana in Michigan?
There is no doubt that this law is unfair and unnecessary, but until it is changed or overturned we suggest that you take extra precaution when transporting anything to do with medical marijuana. Local police have been issuing these tickets with more regularity and it’s easily avoidable. All usable marijuana which is considered the dried, usable leaves and flowers of the plant should be put inside a case or container inside the trunk of your car. Of course the law doesn’t define what a “case” is, but just take the conservative approach. Get a heavy duty locking case big enough to store your useable marijuana and paraphernalia. While paraphernalia is not specifically cited in the wording of the law, it’s a good idea to be overly cautious. If your land based vehicle doesn’t have a trunk, put the case as far away from the drivers seat as possible. While not fair, it’s an easy way to avoid a criminal charge on your permanent record and avoid possible jail time along with fines/penalties.
How Do I Safely Transport My Actual Marijuana Plants?
This law doesn’t address the actual plants because they are not considered to be “usable marijuana”. Instead you must comply to the definition of an enclosed, locked facility which would keep you protected under Section 4 of the MMMA. So what conditions need to be met?
(1) The vehicle is being used temporarily to transport living marihuana plants from 1 location to another with the intent to permanently retain those plants at the second location.
(2) An individual is not inside the vehicle unless he or she is either the registered qualifying patient to whom the living marihuana plants belong or the individual designated through the department registration process as the primary caregiver for the registered qualifying patient. MCL 333.26423(d)
Any violation of these two conditions can have very serious consequences for everyone involved. Because you are transplanting plants instead of usable marijuana, you could be stripped of your section 4 immunity.
Questions or Concerns? Give Us a Call Today For a Free Consultation
We understand that the legal environment surrounding Michigan Medical Marijuana can be confusing. We have handled a lot of medical marijuana cases and have helped many people. If you’ve been charged with Improper Transportation of Medical Marijuana and need help, give us a call at (517) 347-6900 and let our experience work for you.