January 19, 2013
By David Rudoi Esq.
On December 15, 2012 the Michigan Senate passed House Bill 4856 which is now law found in Michigan Compiled Laws 750.474. The major subject covered by the new law is the transportation of marijuana. It is important to note that this new law does not change or augment the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA) in any way. The text of the article reads:
The People of the State of Michigan enact:
Sec. 474. (1) A person shall not transport or possess usable marihuana as defined in section 26423 of the public health code, 1978 PA 368, MCL 333.26423, in or upon a motor vehicle or any self-propelled vehicle designed for land travel unless the usable marihuana is 1 or more of the following:
(a) Enclosed in a case that is carried in the trunk of the vehicle.
(b) Enclosed in a case that is not readily accessible from the interior of the vehicle, if the vehicle in which the person is traveling does not have a trunk.
(2) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than 93 days or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both.
HB 4856 is a Way to Punish Patients and Caregivers
HB 4856 was created in order to have more ways to prosecute patients and caregivers and doesn’t really protect anyone. The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act specifically allows for the same activity which HB 4856 restricts. The bill regulates the transportation of marijuana by stating that no “person” shall carry usable marijuana in the interior of a vehicle. The only way to legally transport marijuana in a vehicle is to have it enclosed in a case and that case enclosed in the trunk or in some area that is not readily accessible from the interior of the vehicle.
The definition of the case in which the marijuana is supposed to be enclosed was not included in the bill. Therefore, it will be up to judges to interpret exactly what the requirements of the “case” are. This could lead to arrests even when patients and caregivers are attempting to transport their marijuana lawfully. Also, HB 4856 could lead police to search the interior of patients’ and caregivers’ vehicles in order to determine if they are in compliance with MCL 750.474. Thus, this new law gives police officers new reasons to harass Michigan medical marijuana patients and caregivers.
At Rudoi Law we understand and are current on all marijuana related law. If you or a loved one is being prosecuted for a marijuana related offense Contact Rudoi Law Today.