The Michigan State Supreme Court has decided to take up a case which would determine if patients and caregivers should be allowed to grow medical marijuana together—in a sort of cooperative garden.
According to MLive.com, the case centers around a Grand Rapids man who was arrested in 2010 for growing too many marijuana plants. The man, Ryan Michael Bylsma, was a marijuana caregiver to two patients. Each patient is allowed to grow 12 plants or have a caregiver do that for them.
Bylsma said he was assisting other caregivers in growing a total of 88 plants, 24 for his patients and 64 for other people. His attorneys argue that the law says nothing that would prohibit the other caregivers from using his garden. His charge carries up to four years in prison.
The trial judge denied Bylsma’s motion to dismiss the charges and the Court of Appeals agreed. The Supreme Court is expected to take up the issue in coming months.
If the Supreme Court sides with Bylsma, it could open up the way for similar cooperative gardens—where patients and caregivers could use the same facilities to grow their legalized plants. And while the Court may rule that the state medical marijuana law doesn’t forbid this, it would seem the gardens would be “ripe for the picking” in the eyes of federal agencies.
Despite medical marijuana being legalized in Michigan, it is still against federal law to possess or grow pot. And federal agencies including the FBI and DEA have kept busy—particularly in California—raiding dispensaries and busting the chops of those who defy the federal law.
If patients and caregivers come together to grow pot, it could get the attention of the feds. Because marijuana is against federal law, they could seize the garden, the medicine, and arrest all of those involved—charging them with cultivation and conspiracy.
So, a win at the state level could mark a victory—cooperative gardens would be nice. But that win could ultimately cause some serious problems.
If you are accused of growing pot or possessing it, and you are not registered with the state as a medical marijuana patient, you could face severe penalties. Fortunately, we may be able to help. Contact our attorneys today to discuss your case and your legal options.