Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Marijuana news: improper transport law struck down by Allegan County's Judge Cronin

The criminal offense of Improperly Transporting Medical Marijuana was signed into law by the governor on December 27, 2012.

This law created a new criminal offense of improperly transporting medical marijuana inside a motor vehicle or self-propelled vehicle, such as a car, truck, tractor, motorcycle, snowmobile, moped, four wheeler, etcetera. To qualify as a vehicle, it must have: (a) an engine, and (b) be designed for land travel. The new criminal misdemeanor charge does not apply to marijuana plants or marijuana material that is not considered "usable."

(The above paragraph is from the Bruce Block website).

It's similar to an "open container" charge for alcohol - if the driver - or passenger - can consume alcohol while driving, then the police can write a ticket for that. So the improper transport law sort of seems to have a logical basis.

So the question arose whether the Improper Transport law, as applied, would be constitutional, as it makes the goals of the Medical Marijuana Act, and the intent of the voters who approved that Act.  How would a qualified patient (or caregiver), who is otherwise immune from prosecution for criminal offense, be able to transport his or her MJ once obtained? It seems to create a double negative: qualified patients can't be prosecuted, unless they're transporting? Makes no sense at all. 

So the answer (so far) is that the Improper Transport law is not constitutional, according to a ruling by Allegan County's Judge Kevin Cronin. The thing is, though, that the decisions of Circuit Courts aren't binding on other Courts. However, the Michigan Court of Appeals is waiting to hear a similar case in the next few months.

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