Today, fixes to the Act will go into effect. These changes acknowledge registered qualifying patients and distinguish them between qualifying patients, those with a qualifying condition and no State registration (cancer but no card). The Legislature also recognized dispensaries, food products, testing labs and growing facilities as part of legislative housekeeping. Specifically, the addition of a new Section 4 (n) adds new clarity to previous court rulings like the McQueen case (a civil case). The State just asked our courts to look in a new direction based on this new reading.
This amended language will provide clarification for several judges and defendants across Michigan. Qualifying Registered Patients (those with their card) are able to sell certain amounts of Marijuana without arrest to both registered and unregistered qualifying patients, and registered caregivers. Due Michigan’s reciprocity clause, Registered Qualifying Patients can even sell to patients and caregivers from out-of-state.
The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) by statute authorizes registered patient-to-patient sales of marihuana despite differing State court interpretations who never acknowledged the ‘registered’ and ‘qualifying’ distinction.
‘Registered’ refers to approval through the department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) after being diagnosed by a licensed physician as having a qualifying, debilitating condition. Registered is also included conveniently within the definitions section of the statute.
(l) Any registered qualifying patient or registered primary caregiver who sells marihuana to someone who is not allowed the medical use of marihuana under this act shall have his or her registry identification card revoked and is guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $2,000.00, or both, in addition to any other penalties for the distribution of marihuana.
(n) A qualifying patient shall not transfer a marihuana-infused product or marihuana to any individual (amended)
Prior to December 20, 2016 and after enactment of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) in 2009, Section 4(l) authorizes registered qualifying patient-to-qualifying patient sales of marihuana within certain weight requirements.
Section 4 of the MMMA is now ambiguous, confusing and misleading. Sections 4 (l) and 4 (n) of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act are in slight contradiction. The only possible way to interpret the Legislature’s intent is to conclude that only registered (emphasis added) qualifying patients can transfer to registered and unregistered qualifying patients and registered primary caregivers. Qualifying patients, defined as having a debilitating condition but not having completed State registration cannot sell any form of marihuana per the amended statute.
Patients who have attained State registered approval (their card) may sell to other participants in the registry like growers, other patients, and caregivers. Now, with the addition of section 4 (n) — registered qualifying patients can sell to non individuals like corporate dispensaries, corporate testing facilities, and corporate gardens. Or so one could read.
Section 4 (n) is the only passage that intentionally makes use of the distinct term qualifying patient as opposed to registered qualifying patient. ‘Registered Qualifying Patient’ is prevalent throughout the entirety of the MMMA, less section 4 (n).
Get yourself a good lawyer before doing anything foolish. Michigan is a scary place where arrests for marijuana have increased 20% since passage of medical cannabis laws. Be prepared for war before engaging in the sale of medical marihuana, to anybody.