Marijuana Laws

Marijuana Defense Attorneys

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Is Marijuana Really “Legal” Now?

Well, yes and no. Let’s say it is a lot more legal now than it was. Much has changed in Michigan law with regard to regulation of marijuana use and sales since the passage of the Marijuana Legalization Initiative (2018. The new laws took effect on December 6, 2018, and now anyone 21 years old or older may possess, use, transport, or process 2.5 ounces or less without state or local criminal jeopardy, with certain exceptions.

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People may also grow up to 12 marijuana plants and store up to 10 ounces of the “crop” of grown marijuana in a locked container in their home. The marijuana being grown at home may not be visible to the naked eye to anyone in a public place, such as a sidewalk. Although marijuana sales are still not regulated or permitted, people may “share” or “transfer” up to 2.5 ounces to others who are at least 21 years old as long as the “sharing” or “transferring” is not advertised, done for money (i.e. sold), or publicly promoted.

What is Still Illegal or Otherwise Not Allowed?

It is still illegal to operate a car, boat, plane, ORV’s and snowmobiles under the influence of marijuana. This is much the same as with alcohol: it is not illegal to use it and then operate a vehicle of some kind, but you may not do so if you have had enough to impair your operation of the vehicle. Furthermore, smoking in public is still outlawed. Driving under the influence of marijuana is frequently called OWI or OWPD (operating with the presence of drugs).

It is also important to know that an employer may refuse to hire anyone who is found under the influence of marijuana or uses marijuana as allowed by the new law and may fire them if it becomes known that the employee has violated a company’s no-drug policies. Employers may also prohibit use of marijuana on company property. The new law does not change or limit any privileges, rights, immunities, or defenses covered by the Medical Marijuana Act.

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Private or public sales or “store-front” operations will not be allowed at least until December 6, 2019. The Michigan Legislature and the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) will decide when public sales are allowed and the rules for public sales. People wishing to engage in public sales must submit an application to the state to become a state-licensed retailer. Any sales by retailers will be taxed (10%). LARA is not obligated to issue any licenses until at least December, 2019.

Individual cities may still enact local ordinances and regulations which do not directly contradict the new law, but understanding exactly what activities are permitted is complicated. For example, cities may enact rules governing sales, licensing, annual fees for stores, the store location, the number of stores allowed, security measures and advertising methods, to name just a few. Fines for these violations may be imposed, and some of the local rules (and even the new law) include criminal penalties.

Do I Need a Lawyer to Understand the New Law?

It is true that marijuana is “more” legal than it was, but many people have gotten the idea after passage of the new law that “marijuana is legal” and they think they are essentially free to act any way they see fit. However, this simplistic approach can get you into trouble. Don’t think that because some things have changed that everything has changed. What is said above is only a basic summary of the more important points to know. The law covers many other activities and if you intend to be involved with marijuana, especially with regard to future sales or growing, you owe it to yourself to speak to an expert criminal lawyer about additional rules. The new rules are somewhat complicated, and it is always better to be safe than sorry.

If you are charged with a felony or misdemeanor involving marijuana or any type of drug, don’t take chances with your future, your employability, or your driver’s license, you need the best lawyer you can get to defend and protect you!

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Consult the Best Top-Rated Criminal Defense Law Firm to Advise You on Marijuana Laws

At LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., our highly experienced and successful defense lawyers can guide you through the new law and what remains of the old law. If you are charged with any kind of criminal offense, we can help you!

Our dedicated, experienced and zealous defense attorneys have successfully represented thousands of clients on felony and misdemeanor charges in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, and Livingston Counties and throughout Southeastern Michigan. We have a well-earned reputation for providing the highest quality defense and aggressive representation, while showing empathy and care for each client. If you are charged Call us today at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and we will contact you promptly.

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Demystifying Medical Marijuana Laws in Michigan

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Who can legally use marijuana in Michigan?

The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act provides an affirmative defense for the use and possession of marijuana within the state. Under the act, an allowance that was made for individuals living with pain associated with cancer, Crohn’s disease, HIV or AIDS, PTSD, seizures, Hepatitis C, and other debilitating health conditions. There are limits to how much medical marijuana a patient can possess, how and where the marijuana is grown, even stipulations addressing caregivers who may be growing, selling, and transporting the medical marijuana to a patient. Drug crime punishments are outlined in the Michigan Penal Code, Sections 333.7401 and 333.7403, which clearly state that to possess or sell a controlled substance is illegal. The Medical Marijuana Act provides an affirmative defense to these charges.

Demystifying Medical Marijuana Laws in MichiganWhat are the consequences of marijuana-related drug charge?

Make no mistake – just because medical marijuana can be possessed by card-carrying citizens in the state of Michigan does not mean that prosecutors are lax when it comes to prosecuting alleged illegal use of marijuana in the state. There are countless examples of prosecutors charging medical marijuana patients and caregivers and claiming that their defense is not valid because of some technicality in the law. Without a valid medical marijuana card, the accused face the real possibility of jail or prison time, along with hefty fines and a suspension of driving privileges. Prosecutors will often look for any proof that the accused was manufacturing or intended to sell the marijuana, resulting in an even harsher punishment and a potential felony conviction.

The amount of marijuana found at the time of arrest, past record of drug-related offenses, as well as the type of marijuana (flower versus infused) all impact the degree of jail time and the charges. Typically, a defendant caught using marijuana without intent to sell with be charged with a misdemeanor and without an aggressive attorney to negotiate, may face up to one year in jail with accompanying fines. You risk a lot by of opting for a cheaper, less experienced attorney team. Is that a risk you can afford to take?

Do I need to proactively hire an aggressive attorney to defend me against charges?

Yes! The State of Michigan prosecutes drug crimes aggressively. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. is a tenacious, trusted legal firm in Michigan that boasts a successful track record with drug related crimes. Leave your freedom in the hands of trusted professionals who know how to win. With decades of experience representing clients who have stood in your same shoes, we know what works and what doesn’t in fighting for dropped charges or a minimized sentence.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete a Request for Assistance Form, and we will promptly contact you.

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Medical Marijuana Laws and Child Endangerment

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Though in the State of Michigan the possession and use of medical marijuana is protected by the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA), the place of such activities as evidence in child custody and abuse cases is not altogether clear. When the MMMA was passed in 2008, it was expected that there would be some legal grey area to work through.

What is the law regarding children and Medical Marijuana?

MICHIGAN MEDICAL MARIJUANA LAWSThe MMMA permits the medicinal use of marijuana when carried out in accordance with the MMMA’s provisions, one of which is “A person shall not be denied custody or visitation of a minor for acting in accordance with this act, unless the person’s behavior is such that it creates an unreasonable danger to the minor that can be clearly articulated and substantiated” (MCL 333.26424 (c)).

Yet with this statute, the legal clarity ends. There is growing debate regarding the medical use of marijuana and the resulting effects on children. The debate has evolved as marijuana policy changes and marijuana use becomes increasingly accepted. The task of determining when a legal behavior crosses the line of child endangerment is complicated and the decision of when to charge a suspect is made by two notoriously conservative parties, the police, and a prosecutor.

The application of the law relies heavily on specific facts and can result in many possible outcomes in court decisions. There have been several highly publicized cases in which a child was removed from the home of a parent or guardian engaging in medical marijuana use. As of yet, no detailed opinions have been released by the Michigan Court of Appeals or the Michigan Supreme Court to guide action in this regard.

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Michigan Drug Defense Attorneys

If you are a patient, a qualified patient or a caregiver and you are charged or being investigated for an offense involving the use of marijuana, you will need a Michigan Drug Defense Attorney. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN P.L.L.C. can help. We have experience dealing with medical marijuana issues and other drug related offenses. We will do everything possible to help you and we are not afraid to win! If you have any questions, please contact us at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and one of our attorneys will promptly contact you.

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Life Without Parole for Repeat Pot Offender

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Missouri, like several other states, has a three strikes law. That means on your third offense, the sentence is life without parole.

In the case of Jeff Mizanskey, all three of his convictions involved possession and distribution of marijuana. Now, almost two decades later, even the prosecutor who put him away is calling for his release. When Missouri’s 3-strikes law is predicated on all-marijuana convictions, his life sentence does not seem fair.

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Society’s perception about marijuana laws have changed. Two states have legalized marijuana for recreational use and nearly half of other states for legalized the use of medical marijuana. A pot related life sentence seems out of line.

The other side of the argument is that is the law in Missouri and therefore an obligation to follow it – or – take the appropriate steps to change the law.

There are times when the clear unfairness of sentencing forces change. This happened in Michigan with the drug lifer laws. Governor Engler signed a law nullifying the law, and retroactively allowing all inmates sentenced under that law to be eligible for parole.

As the legalization of marijuana unfolds over time across our nation, these extreme sentencing laws stand-out as markers of a failed prohibition policy. Following the letter of the law vs doing what is right under the circumstances is an age old struggle in our free society governed by laws.

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Michigan criminal defense attorneys who are experts in state and federal sentencing laws.

When you are facing sentencing on any criminal offense, it is important that you have an expert attorney assist you in navigation of the process. There are many things that can be done, and should be done, to lessen the severity of a sentence. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are experts exclusively in the area of criminal law. We can help you deal with all areas of defending a person charged with a crime. Please contact the attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. with any questions you may have. We can be reached at (248) 263-6800 or submit a Request for Assistance Form and we will promptly contact you.

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City or Ordinance Misdemeanor Marijuana Charges

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Many Cities are Reviewing Marijuana Law

In February 2014, the Michigan Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion that local communities are forbidden from outlawing the use of medical marijuana in their jurisdictions. Many cities and townships have legalized medical marijuana. Those that have not will need to review their current law.

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State Possession of Marijuana May Be Legal Despite Federal Law

The decision also states that it is not impossible for municipalities to comply with federal and state marijuana law. Because last year the Justice Department made it clear that it would not block states from easing their laws regarding both the medical and recreational use of marijuana. However, there are circumstances that the federal government will step in and those are generally with huge amounts of marijuana, use of weapons or violence resulting from being involved with marijuana use, sale or growing.

The Michigan Supreme Court held that is a municipality bans marijuana, it is in direct conflict with the Michigan Marihuana Act, and that conflict violates the separation of powers provision of the Michigan Constitution.

Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, and Other Jurisdictions Cannot Restrict Medical Marijuana

Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, Wyoming, and Livonia have laws heavily restricting or completely banning all marijuana use. Williamston had banned all marijuana usage, but has now amended its law to comply with the high court’s opinion. Delta Township has reviewed the potential licensing of caregivers and has decided to grant these licenses. There are a few communities that have stated anything illegal at the federal level would be illegal within that community. However, Lansing and Jackson have recently passed laws preventing prosecution of residents for the use of marijuana in their homes, even recreationally.

It is pretty clear that Michigan is becoming much more tolerant of marijuana usage.

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Michigan Criminal Defense Attorney for Medical Marijuana

If you, or a loved one, is facing a marijuana or drug charge (felony or misdemeanor) it is important that you have expert legal representation. You face the possibility of incarceration, extensive probation with a multitude of conditions, substantial fines and costs and driver license problems. It is important that you make sure that all your rights are protected and all possible defenses are utilized. The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have decades of experience practicing exclusively in the area of criminal defense. If you have any questions please contact us at (248) 263-6800 or complete a Request for Assistance Form and one of our attorneys will contact you.

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OWPD – Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

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Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

Although the medical and recreational possession of marijuana is legal in Michigan, driving under the influence of marijuana or any other drug (including alcohol) is still illegal.  Prosecutors and judges are taking these offenses very seriously and your best defense is an attorney who will fight to protect and defend you.  Don’t trust your fait to the lowest bidder.

The Debate Over Driving Limits and Marijuana Use… It is common knowledge that most states have established a 0.08% blood alcohol level as the maximum legal limit for drivers over the age of 21. However, with the legalization of the use of recreational marijuana and medical marijuana, there are concerns about operating under the influence laws for drivers who smoke or consume marijuana. The police and prosecutors have been overzealous in these prosecutions and experienced defense lawyers are stepping up to keep innocent drivers from being wrongfully prosecuted. Similarly, judges are seeking to make an example out of those accused of driving under the influence of marijuana (OWPD) and it takes an aggressive and fearless defense lawyer to do what is necessary to get the client the most lenient sentence possible.

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Driving Limits – Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

Even though Michigan allows medical and recreational marijuana, it does not have a driving limit set for being able to legally operate a motor vehicle after having consumed marijuana. This has been the impetus for many defense motions in matters where people are being prosecuted for driving under the influence of marijuana when they possess valid Medical Marijuana cards. The lawyers at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have filed several such motions successfully and will do whatever is necessary to seek a dismissal of all charges in your case.

The State of Michigan has not yet set a defined limit for the amount of marijuana that results in a presumption of impairment.

What is a Reasonable Standard?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, users of marijuana experience the greatest amount of impairment during the first three hours of having smoked it. To determine recent use, active THC is tested in whole blood. Reasonable limits have been difficult to set because of lack of research on a standard impairment level, marijuana affects different people differently, and active THC stays in a chronic or medical user’s system longer, even if the person has quit smoking.

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Lawmakers expect defense attorneys to challenge the laws regarding Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana. The attorney’s with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. accept the challenge!

Other States and Marijuana Driving Limits

Although opponents believe that 5 ng/mL is unreasonably low, it is one of the highest limits in the states that have enacted limits. Nevada (a medical marijuana state) has a limit of 2 ng/mL Ohio also has a limit of 2 ng/mL Montana (a medical marijuana state) has a limit of 5 ng/mL. Pennsylvania’s limit is also 5 ng/mL. Michigan’s legislature needs to make a decision as to the driving limits after having smoked or consumed marijuana. It should consider medical evidence and not rely on inadequate studies and emotion.

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Operating Under the Influence of Marijuana Criminal Defense Attorneys

LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has handled thousands of cases involving marijuana. Our attorneys have represented people charged with marijuana offenses at the Federal and State level and both misdemeanors and felonies. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. also has substantial experience in successfully handling matters related to Michigan’s Medical Marijuana law, and alleged violations of it, and handling cases where there is an allegation of driving under the influence of marijuana.

The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are well-respected specialists in defending people charged with criminal offenses. Please call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. at (248) 263-6800 with any questions you may have or complete a Request for Information Form and one of our attorneys will promptly contact you.

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The policies of the Oakland County Prosecutors Office completely disregard the concerns and attitudes of the citizens it serves.

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Medical Marijuana

In a show of force, demonstrators plan to congregate at the Oakland County Circuit Court in an attempt to show the Oakland County prosecutor that local citizens are in favor of medical marijuana, the state law allowing for the ability of sick citizens to treat with marijuana, and a patient’s ability to have reasonable access to medical marijuana without fear of being prosecuted.

The demonstration will be to mark the start of the trial of registered patient Barb Agro, 70, who is charged with illegal drug dealing even though she was attempting to sell marLegal Marijuanaijuana to legitimate medical marijuana patients.   The demonstration is for all defendants currently charged in Oakland County with delivery of a medical marijuana or possession with intent to deliver medical marijuana.

The Oakland County prosecutor has prosecuted dozens of individuals in multiple cases with possessing or delivering medical marijuana even though it is not disputed that the providers truly believed they were helping terminally ill patients or those suffering from chronic pain and debilitation. The Oakland County Prosecutor has taken a position that even those people who give marijuana to seriously sick people for treatment of their terminal or debilitating conditions still deserve to be convicted of felonies and that many should go to jail or prison.

Loren Dickstein, with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C., currently represents two defendants in a multi-defendant case out of Waterford, Michigan. The case is currently scheduled for motion hearings and the assistant prosecutor assigned to the case is due to file a brief in the case next week. The defendants in the Waterford case are accused to possessing with intent to deliver marijuana that the defendants intended to sell only to patients who possessed legitimate medical marijuana cards issued by the State of Michigan.

It turned out that the “patients” were really undercover narcotics officers posing as terminally ill people or patients suffering from chronic and debilitating medical conditions. The prosecutor will be seeking to prevent the defendants from being able to tell the jury about the devious and deceitful actions of the investigating officers because the Oakland County Prosecutor and the officer’s superiors sanctioned the actions.

The prosecutor is taking a position that the benevolent and compassionate intent of the defendants is irrelevant to the case. This case serves as an example of how the prosecutor’s policy, which is inconsistent with state law and public opinion, is threating to ruin innocent peoples lives.

If you have questions regarding medical marijuana, please do not hesitate to call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. for a free consultation. We can be reached at (248) 263-6800.

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The Federal Government is Allowing Marijuana Legalization Laws to Take Effect Almost

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The Legalization of Marijuana

On August 29, 2013, during a conference call with state governors, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the US Department of Justice would allow the marijuana legalization laws in Colorado and Washington to go into effect. Mr. Holder stated that the Justice Department would take a “trust but verify approach” to the new marijuana laws, but did reserve the right to file a preemption lawsuit at a later date if necessary.

Medical Marijuana SIgnReasons the Federal Government Might Prosecute:

Also on August 29, 2013 the Department of Justice issued a Memo clarifying that it would retain the right to prosecute individuals who engage in the following circumstances:

  • the distribution of marijuana to minors;
  • revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels;
  • the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal under state law in some form to other states;
  • state-authorized marijuana activity from being used as a cover or pretext for the trafficking of other
  • illegal drugs or other illegal activity;
  • violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana
  • drugged driving and the exacerbation of other adverse public health consequences associated with marijuana use;
  • growing of marijuana on public lands and the attendant public safety and environmental dangers
  • posed by marijuana production on public lands;
  • preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property.

As further stated in the memorandum, except for these stated federal enforcement priorities, the federal government has relied on the state and local law enforcement to address marijuana activity. This policy will continue.

Why the Federal Government is Leaving it to the States:

Colorado and Washington have recently enacted laws that authorize the production, distribution and possession of marijuana. The Department of Justice was very clear that it expects those states to establish laws that protect the above stated federal interests. The memorandum states that these factors must be protected by laws that are tough and have adequate funding to enforce. In return, the federal government will rely on the states to enforce any other violation of law as it relates to marijuana.

Based on the states assurances that they will enact appropriately strict regulatory systems, the Justice Department advised the governors of Colorado and Washington that it would defer its right to challenge the state legalization laws at this time. However, the Department has stated that if the factors listed above do materialize, than federal prosecutors will act aggressively to bring individual prosecutions focused on federal enforcement priorities and the Justice Department may challenge the legalization itself.

The Department of Justice states that with the existence of a strong and effective state regulatory system and the compliance with, and enforcement of, such a system, it is satisfied that any issues regarding the states legalization of marijuana have been, or will be, properly dealt with. So, unless the factors listed above have come in to play, the federal government will not get involved in the prosecution of marijuana offenses.

This is, obviously, a great step toward reducing any federal involvement in the state rules, laws and regulations regarding medicinal and/or recreational marijuana.

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The federal government’s relaxing its stance on marijuana is a huge stop forward in the possible legalization, or at least decriminalizing, marijuana.

These issues apply in Michigan as it related to medical marijuana only. The recreational use of marijuana is still illegal under any circumstances. If you or someone you know is faced with a criminal charge involving marijuana – possession of marijuana, use of marijuana, intent to deliver, or operating under the influence of marijuana or any thing of that nature – it is important that you have competent legal representation. The attorneys at Lewis & Dickstein, P.L.L.C. have the knowledge and experience to help deal with any such situation. If you need assistance or a question answered please complete the “Request for Assistance Form” or call us at (248) 623-6800 and one of our highly competent attorneys will be happy to speak to you.

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