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A Better Partnership
September 28, 2011

COA Opinion: The Medical Marijuana Act allows an individual to possess 12 plants as a registered patient or caregiver, but those 12 plants may only be possessed by that one person

In Judge Hoekstra's opinion for a unanimous court in People v. Bylsma, No. 302762, the Court of Appeals upheld the trial court's refusal to dismiss criminal charges under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act. In this case, the defendant was in possession of 88 marijuana plants. He was the registered primary caregiver for two patients which, under the terms of the act, allowed the possession of 12 plants for each patient. Defendant argued that he was maintaining the balance of the plants for other primary caregivers and patients, who testified in support of this account at an evidentiary hearing. The Court of Appeals concluded that the terms of the Act only permitted either the primary caregiver or the patient to possess the 12-plant limit. Thus, only one person was permitted to possession of the statutorily-allowed amount. Here, as to the remaining 64 plants, defendant was a third party, and was neither the caregiver or patient. Thus, defendant was not entitled to immunity under the Act or assert the affirmative defense of medical purpose allowed by the Act.

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