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Beating A Marijuana Charge With A Section 8 Affirmative Defense

August 3, 2016

Possessing and using marijuana is a serious offense that can carry severe penalties if convicted. Unless you have a legal right to use and possess marijuana, beating the charge can be a long and costly process.

 

In Michigan, there are two types of marijuana users who can benefit from a section 8 or section 4 affirmative defense under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA). Qualifying patients and patients. Sounds the same, but they are actually very different statuses - each with their own limitations. The MMMA makes a distinction between a “Qualifying Patient” and a “Patient.” A “qualifying patient” is a person who has been diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition listed in section 3(b)(1)-(3) and who otherwise meets the requirements of the MMMA.  In plain English, a “qualifying patient” is a person who meets the requirements of the Act and has received their registry card from the Michigan Department of Community Health (MCDH). Although section 4 of the MMMA protects a qualifying patient from arrest, prosecution or penalty (including forfeiture of the cannabis), in some situations a person may still be arrested and charged with a drug crime for the use or possession of marijuana. In such a situation an experienced attorney will plead a section 4 affirmative defense.  

 

Conversely, a “patient” is anyone who uses marijuana for medicinal purposes but does not necessarily qualify under the provisions of the MMMA and has not received a registry card from MDCH.  In such a scenario a person charged with a marijuana crime can plead the section 8 affirmative defense to have the charges dismissed.  However, the procedure and timing of pleading this defense can be tricky, so an experienced attorney will be well worth the investment.  If you have been charged with a marijuana crime, call Glaza Law today to see how we can help.

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