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Patient-to-Patient Medical Marihuana Transfers Illegal

February 13, 2013

By: Travis W. Weber

The Michigan Supreme Court, on February 8, 2013, clarified that the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act ("MMMA") does not permit registered patients to transfer medical marihuana amongst themselves in State v McQueen (__ Mich ___, Case No. 143824). The Defendants owned and operated a medical marihuana dispensary in Isabella County at which qualified patients and primary caregivers could transfer marihuana amongst themselves.

In a 4-1 decision (with Justice Bridget McCormack abstaining and no replacement yet selected for Justice Hathaway's vacated seat), the Court determined that patient-to-patient transfers are not considered a "medical use" under the MMMA and therefore are not permitted. The Court considered section 4 of the MMMA, which grants registered patients and primary caregivers immunity from arrest, prosecution or penalty for the medical use of marihuana in accordance with the MMMA.  The Court determined that the immunity granted was available only if the conduct related to marihuana use was for the purpose of alleviating the patient's own debilitating medical condition or alleviating the debilitating medical condition of a specific patient with whom the primary caregiver is connected through the state registration process.  Accordingly, the Court determined that the immunity granted by the MMMA is applicable only to qualified patients for their own personal use and that if a patient transfers marihuana to another, that patient is using marihuana in a manner not provided for under the MMMA.

Because the Defendants' business was to, in part, facilitate patient-to-patient transfers outside the scope of the MMMA, it was considered by the Court to be an unlawful use and public nuisance under the Public Health Code.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding medical marihuana, please contact your Clark Hill municipal attorney.

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