Rory Savatgy

A Michigan Court of Appeals decision makes it impossible for medical cannabis cultivators to legally harvest their plants, according to MLive.com. A Michigan judge has ruled in People v. Vanessa Mansour that “wet marijuana,” the stage immediately following harvest but before the plant is fully cured and dried, is not covered by Michigan medical cannabis laws and is therefore illegal.

“Now, they’ve made it so you can’t even comply with the law. Obviously, it doesn’t go immediately from being a plant to being dried cannabis. There has to be a drying, or curing process. I think this court lacks some understanding.” — Matthew Abel, senior partner of Cannabis Counsel LLC, via MLive.com

The appeals court judge leaned heavily on a ruling made by that same court before medical cannabis laws had been passed, People v. Carruthers. But attorney Neil Rockind, a lawyer for Ms. Mansour, said that the obvious precedent is not People v. Carruthers but, rather, People v. Manuel, which is also a Michigan appellate court decision but one that was argued after the state’s medical cannabis program was established.

In People v. Manuel, the courts set a precedent that cannabis that is still drying does not count toward the allowed total weight because it is unusable in that state. That difference in weight would invalidate much of the case against Ms. Mansour.

“To say that the legislature makes it legal to possess growing plants and to possess a limited amount of finished product — but that in between, everybody is just illegal — that’s the interpretation that the Court of Appeals has hoisted on everybody. I don’t think the legal system has for the most part embraced the medical marijuana initiative. I think the legal system has been very slow, and in some ways defensive, of a view of marijuana as illegal.” — Neil Rockind, via MLive.com

Rockind said this decision will be appealed all the way to the Michigan Supreme Court.

“We fully intend to appeal, we’re not going to back down from a fight and we’re not going to back down from this fight. On behalf of my client and our clients, for patients, caregivers and all of us this fight has to be fought.” — Neil Rockind, in the report

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