You don’t need a prescription to obtain medical marijuana in the state of Michigan—merely a doctor’s note. But that won’t cut it for many judges who believe medical marijuana can and should be regulated for probationers, according to the Daily Telegram.
Lenawee County Circuit Judge Timothy P. Pickard frequently forbids probationers in his courtroom from gaining access to medical marijuana. He does this by making it a condition of their probation. Though the state doesn’t have any restrictions on people with criminal convictions using or growing cannabis, as long as they have their medical marijuana card, Pickard believes it’s his duty to place those restrictions himself.
A judge or probation officer can limit or restrict other legal activities, like drinking, for those under supervision. It’s along these lines that some Michigan judges are adding a medical marijuana condition to probation contracts in their courts.
Pickard is concerned that medical marijuana is too easily accessed in Michigan, leading to many people obtaining cards who don’t really need the substance to treat a medical condition. “I don’t buy it,” he says when sentencing one cocaine offender. “It seems to be an excuse for everybody to light up and smoke dope.”
In his courtroom he is particularly restricting access to those convicted of drug offenses. He says he will still consider allowing medical marijuana for people who are not convicted of a drug related crime and who can demonstrate that the marijuana can assist them in treating a serious medical condition, something he says he has yet to see.
The local district court has implemented a similar policy, taking an even harder line by requiring probationers to surrender their medical marijuana cards as a condition of their supervision. The state Department of Corrections has no policy set in stone on probationers and medical marijuana (though they do ban employees from medical marijuana).
Though Michigan citizens support access to medical marijuana, it is still regulated. Like alcohol, the state can set up rules regarding how it is obtained. Likewise, judges can add it as a legitimate condition of probation. It isn’t clear if judges have restricted the substance from people who really needed it for treatment of a medical condition or not. But it’s not improbable considering the judges in question seem opposed to medical marijuana altogether.
For people who are on probation, even if they once had a medical marijuana card, growing or possessing pot could bring about new criminal charges, not to mention a probation violation.
While medical marijuana and decriminalization laws are expanding nationwide, Michigan will still aggressively prosecute charges, and judges interpret the law strictly. If you are charged with a marijuana offense in MI or are facing a probation revocation hearing, our attorneys can help.