Yesterday, Rockind Law attorneys Colin Daniels, Noel Erinjeri and Neil Rockind, along with our co-counsel, Randy Lewis, filed an appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals that has the potential to further protect Michigan Medical Marijuana patients. After a search of our client’s home, the police located a marijuana grow in the client’s basement and also marijuana buds that were clearly wet. During a hearing, the police attempted to characterize the marijuana buds as “dried” but a Michigan State University professor and expert in botany examined the evidence and concluded that it was unquestionably not dried: it was moldy, wet and had lost weight from the original weighing despite being confined in a sealed plastic bag. The evidence was not disputable. Accordingly, we filed a motion to dismiss charges based on the unusable marijuana. The case of People v Manuel, a published case, was directly on point: a patient is immune from prosecution no matter the quantify of unusable marijuana. In fact, another case addressed the same issue — People v Rocafort — and supported our position. It seemed so straightforward. However, the prosecutor’s office (known for being a “frequent flier” in the appellate courts in medical marijuana cases) contested the motion to dismiss. Their position was that neither People v Manuel nor People v Rocafort controlled the issue. Rather, the prosecutors argued that an old case, interpreting the original version of the MMMA that has since been amended and that addressed “oil/resin” was dispositive and controlling. The prosecutors argued that the court should ignore Manuel and Rocafort and follow People v Carruthers instead.
You can already guess how the circuit court judge ruled since we are forced to appeal: the Court held that Carruthers was the law he was obligated to apply and that he was not following Manuel or Rocafort. We know that this decision is incorrect. Courts cannot ignore published opinions and there was good reason to apply Manuel — it was more recent, was on point regarding wet versus dried marijuana and was published. Accordingly, we are appealing. Our advice to the Court of Appeals and other courts, just Read (the) Manuel (sic).