Recently, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that judges can no longer prohibit defendants from using medical marijuana as part of their probation. The defendant was charged with assault and battery following a road rage incident. He pleaded guilty, and the judge sentenced him to one year of probation. A condition of probation was that the defendant was not to use marijuana, including medical marijuana.
In response, the defendant filed a motion arguing that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA) entitles individuals to certain protections, such as protection from arrest, prosecution, or penalty. However, the prosecution contended that the court maintains the ability to restrict a defendant’s medication. Although the defendant’s issue is moot because his probation ended, the Michigan court found that the issue is one of public significance and required judicial review.
Under the MMMA, medical marijuana use is permitted so long as it is carried out under the Act’s provisions. The issue at hand is whether the revocation of probation upon using medical marijuana is a penalty, as defined by the statute. The court reviewed several cases where the court had found that MMMA supersedes ordinances and statutes that conflict with the MMMA. To further support their position, the court turned to other states that maintain similar medical marijuana laws. In those states, courts have held that it is illegal to prohibit the use of medical marijuana as a condition of probation.