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.