In an unpublished decision, the Michigan Court of Appeals has overturned a Tuscola County defendant’s drug convictions. The Court found that only a dried, usable form of marijuana counts against a defendant in a medical pot case.
In this case, the Tuscola County Sheriff Department executed a search warrant and found 22 pot plants in one building, 23 in another, and 20 in a vehicle, totaling 68 plants. They also found about 7.5 ounces of dried marijuana during a traffic stop of the defendant, Johnnie Randall. Prosecutors then charged Randall criminally for possession of marijuana and for manufacturing more than 20 but less than 200 marijuana plants.
Court used the total weight of the plants
Randall moved for the charges to be dismissed under Section 4 of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA). The lower court found that on the date of the search, Randall had a valid patient card and was a caregiver for five others. Therefore, under the MMMA, he was allowed to have 15 ounces of usable pot and 72 plants. However, the court used the total weight of the plants, including leftover stems and stalks, and found Randall to be in possession of too much pot by weight.
The Court of Appeals found that not only did the lower court mistakenly count drying marijuana as usable, it also mistakenly counted stems as usable pot, and should not have counted unusable stalks as pot at all. In other words, the Court found that only dried marijuana is considered usable. So the only usable pot seized was the 7.58 ounces from the traffic stop, which was well under the 15 ounce limit.
Therefore, the Court of Appeals vacated the convictions and reversed the trial court’s decision to deny Randall’s motion to dismiss.