LANSING (WWJ/AP) - Michigan’s Court of Appeals has ruled that baked goods and other food containing marijuana’s active ingredient aren’t considered “usable marijuana” under state law unless they contain plant material.
The ruling released Friday, however, says registered medical marijuana patients who possess THC-laced foods may still be able to claim immunity from prosecution under a section of Michigan’s medical marijuana law.
The ruling comes in a case centering on a Jan. 27, 2011 traffic stop in Oakland County where Earl Cantrell Chambers was arrested. Chambers was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to deliver after the police found marijuana “in various locations within the vehicle, including mason jars, plastic bags, and a binder of plastic pouches, as well as containers of brownies that were individually labeled to indicate the weight of the brownie and content of medical marijuana,” according to the Michigan Court of Appeals opinion.
When arrested, Chambers presented both a medical marijuana identification card, a caregiver certificate and applications for four patients, Mlive.com reported. Still, Chambers went to trial and was later convicted and sentenced to 33 days in jail and three years of probation.
Chambers appealed his conviction on several arguments — one being that the brownies qualified as a “mixture” containing the drug as defined under the law. He said the brownies were made with a THC-containing product called “Cannabutter” instead of with actual marijuana.
The appeals court dismissed that argument though, saying the Medical Marijuana Law passed by Michigan voters in 2008 narrowly defines “usable marijuana” as the leaves and flowers of the marijuana plant, and does not include extracts of THC, the drug’s active ingredient.
However, the court did determine that Chambers may be able to claim immunity under a separate provision of the law, Section 8, which allows possession of marijuana in any amount “reasonably necessary to ensure the uninterrupted availability of marihuana for the purpose of treating or alleviating the patient’s serious or debilitating medical condition or symptoms,” Mlive.com reported.
The appeals court decided to refer Chamber’s case back to a trial court to determine if he has an immunity claim under the Section 8 provision. If the court rules that the provision applies in the case, Chambers’ conviction could be dismissed entirely.
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