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People v. Danto: Strict Compliance with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act Section 4 to bring a Medicinal Marijuana Defense under Section 8

The case of People v. Danto involved the Section 8 defense under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) and whether the prosecution can preclude the medicinal marijuana defense to even be presented for a jury. Recall, under the MMMA Section 4 the patient or caregiver must keep 12 or fewer marijuana plants (per registered qualified patient) in an enclosed, locked facility.

In People v. Danto, the defendants kept marijuana in various locations throughout their home, including the bathroom, living room, kitchen, bedrooms, and basement with no door at the entrance. Clearly, this was not in compliance with the “enclosed, locked facility” requirement of the MMMA. What People v. Danto held is that if the grower of marijuana has failed to keep the plants in an “enclosed, locked facility” or is indisputably over the limit of marijuana prescribed by the MMMA, the medicinal marijuana defense is precluded and cannot be used at trial (the jury will not be able to hear why the marijuana was in the defendant’s possession, as legitimate as his reasons may be). Therefore, strict compliance with MMMA Section 4 is required or the defendant will not be able to use Section 8 as a defense.

Prosecutors across the state have been successfully presenting motions to preclude the Section 8 Medical Marihuana Defense based on the ruling in People v. Danto. Thus, this Michigan Appeals Court ruling has been very detrimental to the medical marijuana community because it prevents medical marijuana patients and caregivers from asserting the Section 8 Medical Marihuana defense at trial if the court determines that the defendant was in any way out of compliance with Section 4 of the MMMA. At Rudoi Law we understand and have experience in fighting motions to preclude the Medical Marihuana Defense, which is imperative in any medical marijuana case.