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Court Denies Medical Marijuana Motion


Case: People v. Bryan

Court: Michigan Court of Appeals ( Unpublished Opinion )

The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) (MCL 333.26421 et seq.); Motion to dismiss marijuana-related offenses under MCL 333.26428 (the § 8 affirmative defense) or to present the § 8 affirmative defense at trial; People v. Kolanek; People v. Anderson (On Remand); People v. Hartwick; Bona fide physician-patient relationship defined; MCL 333.26423(a); Medical use of marijuana defined; MCL 333.26423(h)


On remand from the Michigan Supreme Court, the court affirmed the denial of defendant’s motion to dismiss marijuana-related charges against him or alternatively to allow him to present the MMMA § 8 affirmative defense at trial, holding that he did not present prima facie evidence of each element of § 8. The key issue was whether he offered sufficient evidence “to establish that he possessed, cultivated, manufactured and used marijuana ‘to treat or alleviate [his] serious or debilitating medical condition or symptoms of [his] serious or debilitating medical condition.’” Thus, the trial court focused on § 8(a)(3). However, the court also briefly reviewed the evidence as to §§ 8(a)(1) and (2). It was satisfied that he presented prima facie evidence to meet the requirement in § (a)(1). As to § (a)(2), the record showed “the police suspected defendant of selling marijuana after viewing text messages on” his cell phone when they entered his home, and he “testified that he traded marijuana with his neighbor to have particular strains of marijuana available. Under such circumstances, factual disputes do not exist concerning whether the quantity of marijuana that defendant possessed was ‘reasonably necessary to ensure the uninterrupted availability of [marijuana] for the purpose of’ treating his serious or debilitating medical condition.” As to § (a)(3), his evidentiary hearing testimony “did not establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that his use of marijuana was to ‘treat or alleviate [defendant’s] serious or debilitating medical condition’ or its symptoms.” He stated that he used it “as a replacement for tobacco as he was quitting smoking tobacco.” He also stated “that he would share his marijuana with a neighbor or seek marijuana from that same neighbor if defendant’s own supply was exhausted.” Thus, on this record, where factual disputes did not exist as to whether his “possession and use of marijuana was ‘to treat or alleviate [his] serious or debilitating medical condition’ or its symptoms,” the court was not persuaded that the trial court’s decision to deny his motion “fell outside the range of reasonable and principled outcomes and amounted to an abuse of discretion.”

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