Medical marijuana on probation – original case details
In People v. Thue, the defendant Michael Thue was charged with assault and battery stemming from a road rage incident. Thue pled guilty to the charge and was sentenced to one year of probation. The District Court judge that sentenced Thue did so with the provision that Thue was not allowed to use marijuana on probation, including medical marijuana if he was a registered patient. Turns out Thue was a registered Michigan Medical Marijuana user, and he filed a motion to the court asking the court to apply the special protections that Medical Marijuana users are entitled to in Michigan. The special protections that registered medical marijuana patients are entitled to in Michigan include protection from:
- Prosecution, or
- Penalty of any kind
Thue’s motion centered around the protection of registered medical marijuana patients to be free from “penalty of any kind.” Thue argued that the judge revoking his probation for using medical marijuana would be considered a penalty, and thus against the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA). The case was appealed to the County Circuit Court who agreed with the District Court preventing Thue from using medical marijuana while on probation. That decision was appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals who has now made a landmark decision to allow probationers who are registered patients to use medical marijuana while on probation.
COURT OF APPEALS RULING
The Michigan Court of Appeals recognized that the issue of probationers wanting to use medical marijuana while on probation is a common one that needed a clear answer. In its review, the Court of Appeals noted several other Michigan cases that have concluded that the MMMA preempts or supersedes any ordinances or statutes that conflict with it. For example, the city of Wyoming, MI enacted a zoning law that prohibited any uses that are in conflict with any federal, state, or local law. Since marijuana is still a federally illegal substance, growing marijuana was then effectively made illegal by this new zoning ordinance. A registered medical marijuana patient challenged this statute as being against the provisions of the MMMA allowing him to grow his own medical marijuana, and he won. The Court also reviewed medical marijuana laws in other states and how they have dealt with the same issue with probationers in their states. The Court found the consistent treatment of other states’ medical marijuana laws to be stronger than any ordinances and statutes in conflict with the medical marijuana laws. The Michigan Court of Appeals then concluded that probationers in the same position as Thue should be allowed to use medical marijuana while on probation and that a court cannot impose any penalty or sanction for doing so. If you are looking to be able to use medical marijuana while on probation, then it is important to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT ME?
This is a decision that will affect many Michigan probationers for years to come. If you are a medical marijuana user, then you should be happy to know that the protections of the MMMA have just been strengthened by this and many other previous high-court decisions. If you are currently on probation and are being denied your right to use medical marijuana, then a motion to the judge based on the ruling of this case could be what finally allows you to use your medicine without governmental interference. It is important to understand that this decision only affects licensed medical marijuana patients and does not apply to people wishing to use marijuana recreationally. While recreational marijuana is now legal in Michigan, a judge can still legally prevent you from using recreational marijuana while on probation, just as a judge could prevent you from drinking alcohol while on probation. If you have questions about your specific case, then give us a call at Oakes Law Group so we can help.
OAKES LAW GROUP PROUDLY OFFERS A FREE CONSULTATION
If you are on probation and need help getting a judge to allow you to use medical marijuana, then Oakes Law Group is here to help. At Oakes Law Group, we are proud to offer FREE consultations to all prospective clients. If you are trying to decide which attorney to choose or are looking for an honest assessment of your criminal case, then our attorneys are available to help you now. Feel free to contact us anytime at 1-888-886-5711 or by email. Our advice is free, and our discussions will always be protected by the attorney-client privilege. Make your first choice towards freedom with a consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney at Oakes Law Group today.