“Can I use medical marijuana while on probation?”

Medical marijuana helps patients sleep, eat, reduce or eliminate dependence on narcotic medication, and much more. The established medical community consistently finds increased value in medicinal marijuana as an alternative to traditional medicines.

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Benefits of Medicinal Marijuana

Medical marijuana in the United States and Michigan is increasingly accepted for its medicinal and therapeutic value. In fact, marijuana is currently legal in most states and Washington, DC. Recreational and medical marijuana are still illegal under federal law. The medical benefits of marijuana and CBD are undeniable. Marijuana is used to treat the symptoms of many medical conditions, including insomnia, anxiety, spasticity, chronic pain, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, nerve damage, Parkinson’s disease, and more.

Additionally, medical marijuana can reduce a patient’s dependency on narcotic pain medication, thereby reducing addiction. In 2021, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that judges cannot prevent probationers from using medical marijuana on probation. At this time, judges are still free to prohibit legal, recreational marijuana use and possession.

Use of Medicinal Marijuana While on Probation

Michigan statutes give judges the power to place defendants on probation. Michigan Compiled Law 771.3 requires sentencing judges to order the defendant not to violate any criminal law of the state or the United States during the term of probation. While this is not an issue with Michigan law, marijuana is still illegal under federal law. The views and policies of Circuit Court and District Court judges vary greatly. While some judges categorically refuse to permit someone on probation to use marijuana, even medical marijuana, other judges take a more open-minded, tolerant view. Because of the 2021 ruling of the Court of Appeals in People v. Michael Thue, even the strictest of judges can no longer prohibit a probationer from legitimately using medical marijuana while on probation.

A defendant must possess persuasive and credible medical documentation and a compelling argument when requesting permission to use medical marijuana while on probation. Very few judges routinely permit marijuana use, so a request must be convincing to have a chance. It is best to get a letter from a medical doctor stating that traditional medications have not been effective and there is no medically appropriate alternative to medical marijuana. Most judges will consider only a doctor’s opinion with a bonified doctor/patient relationship with the probationer.

In federal court, exceptions permitting medical marijuana while on probation are few and far between. In some rare instances when judges have allowed medical marijuana use, federal appellate courts have reversed and disallowed the medicinal use of marijuana. The United States Attorney’s Office consistently opposes the use of marijuana in any form by individuals on bond or probation.

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“What about the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act?”

In November 2008, the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act was approved by most voters in Michigan. The Act decriminalized the cultivation and use of medical marijuana by seriously ill individuals who have obtained a doctor’s recommendation. It allows patients to grow up to 12 marijuana plants and possess up to 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana. Additionally, qualified caregivers can grow up to 12 marijuana plants per patient for up to 5 patients. Appellate courts have found that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act compels judges to permit a defendant to use medical marijuana while on probation.

“If a judge denies my request to use medical marijuana while on probation, is there anything I can do?”

First, an experienced, top-notch defense lawyer will be prepared at sentencing to persuade a judge to permit medical marijuana use while on probation. They will know the documents and information necessary to make the most compelling argument on your behalf. What about when an inferior attorney represents someone, and the ability to use medical marijuana is denied? All is not lost. After sentencing, the defendant’s attorney can file a motion requesting permission to use medical marijuana while on probation. The motion must be complete, fully informative, credible, and supported by medical documentation. The top lawyers know how to collaborate with doctors on a formal and authoritative letter that provides the judge with the required information in the appropriate format. Although no lawyer can guarantee a particular result, a compelling and credible motion is likely to succeed in most Michigan courts. If a trial court judge improperly prohibits the use of medical marijuana by a probationer, the case can always be appealed and reversed.

Recreational Marijuana While on Bond or Probation

Michigan passed the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act in 2018. The Act legalized recreational marijuana for adults over the age of 21. Michigan judges rarely permit defendants on bond or probation to use recreational marijuana. Although alcohol is legal for 21-year-olds, it is usually prohibited as well.

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Michigan Criminal Defense Attorneys

The attorneys with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are routinely hired to help clients seek permission to use medical marijuana while on probation. We have developed reliable and compelling strategies for educating judges on the safe use of medical marijuana while on probation. If you contact us, we will take the time to answer your questions, learn about your situation, and work with you to develop a plan to ensure you get the medication and therapeutics needed for your condition. A judge cannot prohibit the legitimate use of medical marijuana by a probationer authorized to use medicinal marijuana under the MMMA. If a judge refuses to follow the law, it is time to call us for help.

Call us today at (248) 263-6800 for a free consultation or complete an online Request for Assistance Form. We will contact you promptly and find a way to help you.

We will find a way to help you and, most importantly,
we are not afraid to win!

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