Changes to Michigan Medical Marihuana Act 2016

Important Changes to the 2016 Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.


Michigan Medical Marijuana Lawyer Bruce Alan Block.




Eight long years after Michigan voters overwhelmingly passed the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act in November 2008, the Michigan legislature passed three separate marijuana bills that will drastically impact and change the way that medical marijuana is grown and sold in Michigan. Two of the new bills create a comprehensive state licensing system intended to control the growing, processing, transporting, testing, and sale of medical marijuana throughout the state.


Only one of the three 2016 medical marijuana bills made changes to the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act. Among other things, the MMMA now allows for the manufacture, possession, and use of marijuana infused products (edibles or medibles). This page will try to summarize the key changes in the 2016 legislation and explain how they will affect you. We strongly suggest that you take the time to read the Amended Medical Marihuana Act. For ease of reading, we created a page that contains the complete text of the MMMA that was effective December 20, 2016. Click this link to read the full text of the 2016 Amended Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.


Marijuana Medibles. 


House Bill 4210 was the only 2016 Michigan legislative medical marijuana bill that amended the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act. HB 4210 modified Sections 3, 4, 6, and 7 of the MMMA. The major change is that the definition of “usable marijuana” was changed to expressly include THC-infused products such as marijuana brownies, tinctures, lotions, marijuana oils, marijuana butter, Simpson's oil, wax, and other types of non-smokable marijuana used for medical consumption. These products had been barred from Section 4 immunity by a 2013 Michigan Court of Appeals decision (People v Carruthers). 


A new definition has been written into Section 3 of the MMMA that defines a "marihuana-infused product" as a topical formulation, tincture, beverage, edible substance or similar product intended for human consumption in a non-smokable form. In addition, the definition of "usable marihuana" was changed to include "plant resin" or "extract of the marihuana plant." Under the 2016 amended Medical Marijuana Act, one ounce of usable marihuana equals 16 ounces of a marijuana-infused product if in solid form, 7 grams if in a gaseous form, and 36 ounces if in liquid form.


What this means, is that medical marihuana patients are now authorized by state law to manufacture, possess, and use marijuana concentrates (e.g., marijuana butter) and marijuana-infused products (e.g.,  marijuana brownies). Patients and their primary caregivers are now allowed to possess up to forty ounces of marihuana brownies, and/or up to seventeen and a half grams of a cannabis-infused gaseous product, and/or up to ninety ounces of marihuana liquid. Note that the combined total of dried marijuana and marijuana products cannot exceed 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana. So, you could have a pound of marijuana brownies (1 ounce), 36 ounces of Simpson's Oil (1 ounce) and one-half ounce of marijuana and still be under your Section 4 immunity limits.  


Manufacture of Marijuana Products.


The manufacture of marihuana-infused products is allowed by a patient to be used only by that patient for their personal medical use. If the patient has designated a primary caregiver, then the primary caregiver is also allowed to manufacture a marijuana medible for the use of one of his five registered patients. The MMMA expressly forbids a patient from transferring a marijuana infused product, such as a brownie or marijuana wax, to anyone, ever. Likewise, a primary caregiver is only authorized to transfer a marijuana-infused product to one of their five patients registered through the state. 


Transportation of Marijuana Products. 


Transportation of marijuana-infused products in a motor vehicle will only be allowed IF the marijuana butter, wax, or medible is inside a sealed container in the trunk of the car (or if no trunk, then enclosed in a sealed container as far as possible away from the driver). The label on the marijuana infused product must state the total weight in ounces, date of manufacture, date of receipt, and name of the person from whom it was received. If a medible is being transported by a registered primary caregiver, they must carry a manifest that lists the manufacturer, date of manufacture, name and address where they are transporting it, date and time of departure, estimated date and time of arrival, and if applicable, the date, name and address of the person from whom it was received. A violation of the transport restrictions by a patient or caregiver is a civil infraction that carries with it a $250 fine.


Butane Hash Oil Extraction is Prohibited.


The extraction and concentration of THC by Butane extraction was added to Section 7's list of prohibited actions if done in a public place, inside a motor vehicle, inside a house, garage, or in the yard of a house or a residential structure. Butane THC extraction is also prohibited if done in a manner that demonstrates a failure to exercise reasonable care or a reckless disregard for the safety of others. This is an important change, as a violation of Section 7 strips the patient or their caregiver of any protection under the MMMA, thus subjecting the offender to all of the marijuana criminal penalties just as if they had never had a card.

What is a Plant?


In August 2016, the Michigan Court of Appeals issued an Opinion in People v Ventura on a subject that had never been decided in the state: what is a marijuana “plant?” When does a seedling become a “plant?” When does a clone become a “plant” and thus countable under the twelve plant limitation of the MMMA? In the amendment to the medical act, the Michigan Legislature created a new definition of what a marijuana “plant” is for purposes of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. Here is the new definition: “Plant” means any living organism that produces its own food through photosynthesis and has observable root formation or is in growth material.” 


Prior to this new definition, the common sense approach was that a marijuana plant had to have some form of observable roots. Under the definition, no roots are required. A marijuana cutting that is trimmed and then placed in some form of growth medium is immediately considered a plant under this new definition. Since the plant definition requires that the organism be living, dead plants will not count as plants (yes, we have had cases where dead plants have been counted). Clippings on the floor will not count as a plant. Clippings that are hung up to dry do not count. So, a “plant” is a plant organism that is alive and either has observable roots OR is in a growth medium. 


Marijuana Clones.


So what about marijuana clones? Traditionally, the police did not consider clones to be plants until they had an observable root formation. This has now changed. A plain English reading of the definition means that any clone or cutting that is in growth material – with roots or without roots – is now deemed to be a “plant.” Based on this definition, a cutting that is in water, soil, or a similar growth material will now be considered a plant, even if you cut it and put it in soil a couple minutes earlier.  


Patient to Patient Transfers Prohibited. 


The Michigan Supreme Court had already ruled in the McQueen case that P2P transfers were not protected under Section 4 of the MMMA. Section 4 was amended to expressly forbid patients from making any transfers of marihuana-infused products or marihuana to anyone, ever. What this means, is that patients cannot share, give, trade or sell marijuana to a dispensary, to a caregiver, to another patient, or even their spouse. A violation strips the patient of their Section 4 immunity. 


When Does the Medible Bill Become Effective?


The 2016 Amendments became effective on December 20, 2016. Interestingly, this bill allows for retroactive application. Most new laws are prospective, meaning that they apply prospectively in the future. Retroactive means that the law applies to past conduct that occurred prior to the effective date. What this means for open or pending criminal cases will require a case-by-case analysis.



Bruce Alan Block, PLC

Attorney and Counselor at Law
1155 East Paris Ave. SE Suite 300, Grand Rapids, MI 49546
Phone: (616) 676-8770


Serving Clients throughout Western Michigan, in Grand Rapids, Ada, East Grand Rapids, Kentwood, Cascade, Wyoming, Byron Center, Lowell, Caledonia, Rockford, Holland, Grand Haven, Grandville, Kent, Barry, Ottawa, Muskegon and Ionia County. We represent college students from Calvin College, Aquinas, Grand Valley State University, Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids Community College, Michigan State University, and Western Michigan University.


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Disclaimer: It is our hope that everyone will strictly adhere to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act's requirements. Please understand that the purpose of this webpage is strictly informational; nothing on this website or this webpage are intended to suggest that you violate any state or federal law. You are advised to seek your own personalized legal advice.