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Do I Still Need My Card? - by Ben Horner

With legalization here should medical marijuana patients continue to renew their MMMP card?

Well for one thing recreational pot shops will not be a thing for at least a year, and the cops are gearing up to go after illegal sales. Stoned driving will also be on the Michigan law enforcement radar. Don’t take it from me, listen to these experts.

Executive director of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, Robert Stevenson, is preparing to train around the state of how to bust people post the legalization start on December 6th. In an interview with Michigan Public Radio, Stevenson alluded to learning for law enforcement from states like Colorado.

 “We’ve been in touch with Colorado to share experiences and techniques,” says Stevenson, “If I had a secret technique to catch all the people, I wouldn’t tell you for obvious reasons, because we would want to use it to catch people that are selling.” (source: http://www.michiganradio.org/post/michigan-police-departments-preparing-legal-recreational-marijuana)

Super cannabis attorney Allen Peisner explains, “After 12/6, police will no longer have probable cause to search a motor vehicle based upon the green or unburnt smell of cannabis.   The burnt smell will cause the police to think about submitting the driver to field sobriety tests. The smell issue will also cause the retirement of many drug dogs. They cannot be untrained to detect for marijuana and they cannot tell the handler which drug they are detecting.”

“If a person refuses or fails the field sobriety tests, the police might be able to get a warrant to draw blood.   Any amount of active delta-9-THC in their blood can result in a drugged driving charge.   This is where case law, People v Koon, decided in 2013 by the MSC, declares that zero tolerance to THC law invalid as to MM cardholding patients. If a MM cardholding patient is driving with THC, the police must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the person was under the influence of the THC while driving. A bad accident might give them a good reason to take the case to a jury. In theory, a patient without a card could use §8 as a defense to a zero tolerance THC charge, but the courts are resistant to it. I could cite at least one case where the trial court denied a §8 hearing on the zero-tolerance driving charge but allowed it for the possession of MJ charge.”

Party at Vehicle City Social
Illegal sales will also be tested. Some growers are looking to hit the ground running. Social Clubs like Vehicle City allow for grows to rent both space and sell their wares directly to consumers, without having to pay for overhead, as well as local and state taxes and fees. “You can just charge people for the baggie and the weed is free,” explains a caregiver who wishes to remain anonymous. Planned social clubs are preparing to sprout up around the state this month.

The recently passed Campaign Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol isn’t full legalization, and there will continue to be grey areas in the law. Just like with medical marijuana, some prosecutors will test the limits of how to interpret this law. Most likely, green zones will make going after potheads to be a waste of time, where as communities that have too many resources will continue to bust us. Be careful, and keep your card. For now at least.

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