marijuana law

MMMA-People v. Pointer: Prosecution Only Required to Present Evidence of a Single Violation of Section 4


David Rudoi Esq.

October 21, 2012

On October 11, 2012 the Michigan Court of Appeals issued its opinion in the MMMA related case of People v. Pointer. The defendant was charged in the trial court for violation of MCL 333.7401 (2)(d)(ii). Specifically, in the amended information the defendant was charged with manufacture/distribution of marijuana for illegally possessing 5 kilograms or more but less than 45 kilograms, or 20 plants or more but fewer than 200 plants.

The trial court issued a directed verdict in favor of the defense based on MCL 333.26424 or Section 4 of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. The trial court ruled that the prosecution had not fulfilled its burden because they had presented no evidence that the weight of usable marijuana exceeded the amount allowed under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA). However the Michigan Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision because the prosecution had presented evidence that the defendant possessed more than 12 marijuana plants which is more than the amount allowed under section 4 of the MMMA.

Basically, the ruling in People v. Pointer signifies that the prosecution is only required to present evidence of a single violation of Section 4 of the MMMA to avoid a directed verdict. Thus, a single violation of Section 4 is all that is required for a person to no longer be immune from prosecution, leaving the defense with the alternative Section 8 affirmative defense which must be presented in a pretrial motion and where the burden of proof is on the Defense rather than the Prosecution.

Although, this opinion is not very good for the medical marijuana community, it is consistent with case precedent. At Rudoi Law we are always current on all the MMMA case law and are ready to aggressively defend our client’s rights.

People v. Anderson: MMMA Section 8-Trial Court Shall NOT Resolve Facual Disputes

October 1, 2012

David Rudoi Esq.

On September 18, 2012 the Michigan Court of appeal issued an opinion in the case of People v. Anderson for a second time. The Trial Court in People v. Anderson ruled in an evidentiary hearing that Anderson had not satisfied the elements of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act‘s Section 8 Affirmative Defense. The Trial Court entered an Order denying Defendant’s motion to dismiss and precluded him from asserting the MMMA Section 8 affirmative Defense at trial.

The case was then appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals where the ruling of the trial court was upheld in a decision that was detrimental to the Medical Marijuana movement in Michigan because it stated that Defendants must prove elements of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act‘s Section 4 in order to assert the Section 8 affirmative defense. Most importantly, The Michigan court of appeals ruled that a Defendant must conform with the MMMA section 4 requirement of an “enclosed and locked facility” in order to assert the Section 8 affirmative Defense. This Opinion was soon overruled in the Michigan Supreme Court case of People v. King. Anderson then appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court who remanded the case back to the michigan Court of appeals in order for them to issue an opinion consistent with the Ruling in People v. King.

This time the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the trial court did err when it ruled that the provisions of Section 4 applied to the affirmative defense under Section 8. Thus, Anderson should not have been required to prove that his plants were kept in an enclosed and locked facility. The court also ruled that the trial court erred when it assessed the weight and credibility to be given to defendant’s evidence in attempting to resolve factual disputes. The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that the trial courts only role in the Section 8 evidentiary hearing was to determine if, as a matter of law, defendant presented enough evidence to satisfy a prima facie defense under Section 8 of the MMMA. If a prima facie defense is established then the court’s role is to determine if any factual disputes exist that a jury must resolve.

The Michigan Court of appeals then remanded the case back to the trial court because the landscape of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act has changed so much with the recent Michigan Supreme Court decision in People v. King the attorney’s deserve an to present proper proofs as to the elements of the section 8 affirmative defense.

The important aspect of this ruling is that it further affirms the idea that the trial court must not resolve factual disputes regarding the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act’s Section 8 affirmative defense: if a factual dispute exists it should be resolved by the jury not the judge.

At Rudoi Law we are expert Medical Marijuana attorneys and understand all of the current ruling that involve Medical Marijuana. We are prepared to fight in order to help you receive the best possible outcome in your case.