Several new amendments to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act went into effect today, April 1st.  Another amendment went into effect the first part of the year concerning driving with cannabis.  This created a new driving offense requiring patients and caregivers to carry their useable marijuana in a case in the trunk of their car, or if there is no trunk, then in a case not readily accessible from the interior of the vehicle.

New definitions make up some of the new amendments: A new definition of “bona fide physician-patient relationship”; modifications to the definitions of “Enclosed, locked facility; and who qualifies as a “Primary Caregiver” or “Caregiver.”  The following new and modified definitions come into effect April 1, 2013:
(a) “Bona fide physician-patient relationship” means a treatment or counseling relationship between a physician and patient in which all of the following are present:
(1) The physician has reviewed the patient’s relevant medical records and completed a full assessment of the patient’s medical history and current medical condition, including a relevant, in-person, medical evaluation of the patient.
(2) The physician has created and maintained records of the patient’s condition in accord with medically accepted standards.
(3) The physician has a reasonable expectation that he or she will provide follow-up care to the patient to monitor the efficacy of the use of medical marihuana as a treatment of the patient’s debilitating medical condition.
(4) If the patient has given permission, the physician has notified the patient’s primary care physician of the patient’s debilitating medical condition and certification for the use of medical marihuana to treat that condition.

Moreover, under the case law: The physician’s statement must be made before commission of the offense.

(d) “Enclosed, locked facility” means a closet, room, or other comparable, stationary, and fully enclosed area equipped with secured locks or other functioning security devices that permit access only by a registered primary caregiver or registered qualifying patient. Marihuana plants grown outdoors are considered to be in an enclosed, locked facility if they are not visible to the unaided eye from an adjacent property when viewed by an individual at ground level or from a permanent structure and are grown within a stationary structure that is enclosed on all sides, except for the base, by chain-link fencing, wooden slats, or a similar material that prevents access by the general public and that is anchored, attached, or affixed to the ground; located on land that is owned, leased, or rented by either the registered qualifying patient or a person designated through the departmental registration process as the primary caregiver for the registered qualifying patient or patients for whom the marihuana plants are grown; and equipped with functioning locks or other security devices that restrict access to only the registered qualifying patient or the registered primary caregiver who owns, leases, or rents the property on which the structure is located. Enclosed, locked facility includes a motor vehicle if both of the following conditions are met:
(1) The vehicle is being used temporarily to transport living marihuana plants from 1 location to another with the intent to permanently retain those plants at the second location.
(2) An individual is not inside the vehicle unless he or she is either the registered qualifying patient to whom the living marihuana plants belong or the individual designated through the departmental registration process as the primary caregiver for the registered qualifying patient.

Moreover, the Michigan Supreme Court in Bylsma found that one of two people may “possess” the plants – i.e. exercise dominion and control over the plants – either the patient or that patient’s primary caregiver, the one authorized to possess plants on the front of their ID card.

“Primary caregiver” or “caregiver” means a person who is at least 21 years old and who has agreed to assist with a patient’s medical use of marihuana and who has not been convicted of any felony within the past 10 years and has never been convicted of a felony involving illegal drugs or a felony that is an assaultive crime as defined in section 9a of chapter X of the code of criminal procedure, 1927 PA 175, MCL 770.9a.

Section 4(a) and (b) now require presentment of a driver license or state issued photo ID in addition to the MMP Registry Paient or Caregiver Card to get immunity from arrest.  Also, in applying for registry identification cards, one must prove Michigan residency, with a driver’s license, state issued photo ID, or voter registration card.

The MMMA only provides protection from the application of state law and will not be allowed as a defense to any federal prosecution.

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