Pete Trzos, 33, of Keego Harbor, was arrested last year for possession of marijuana. He was attempting to operate what he thought was a legal medical marijuana business. Now, he is unable to use his medical license, is facing felony charges, and rarely leaves the house for fear of being pulled over in his car by police.
The police used a battering ram on his parents’ custom-made front door. They left the house open in the middle of winter in a second raid to find evidence in their case against him after they’d raided his business and confiscated 11 oz. of marijuana and $770 – not even enough to pay rent, said Trzos.
His case has been lying around for the last 19 months because of stays, motions, appeals, legal interpretations, and will continue to be affected by changes in Michigan state law.
Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Legislation
The ballot proposal approved by voters in 2008 was what convinced Pete his business was legal. Michigan is one of 25 states and the District of Columbia to have legalized smoking marijuana as a medical treatment in this way. The number of people reported to be using marijuana for medical purposes has grown immensely since 2008.
In 2009, there were 4,398 registered users, and by 2015, it had risen to 182,091. Right now, there are 212,928 registered medical marijuana patients in Michigan.
Even so, Michigan’s government has often left it up to the courts to interpret the law through criminal prosecution of people who thought they were complying.
Three bills have been moved by the house to solve some of these issues and sent to the governor for his signature:
- HB4209 – Covers the licensing and regulation of provision centers, growers, processors, transporters and safety facilities.
- HB4210 – Includes alternative forms of marijuana for medical reasons, including oils, edibles, liquids and capsules
- HB4827 – Sets up seed-to-sale tracking of medical marijuana
Another registered medical marijuana user, Ida Chinosis of Grand Blanc, uses a marijuana oil extract for her 7-year-old daughter. Her daughter has a condition called 1p26 Deletion Syndrome. After trying many prescription medications for her seizures which sometimes lasted 27 minutes and happened every day, she did her research.
Chinosis followed state law, which requires two doctors to approve medical marijuana use for a minor, and found a doctor here and one in Texas. Her daughter’s oil extract has to be prepared with exact ratios of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
Ida’s daughter, Bella, has shown more improvement than on any other medication. She can now respond to voices and stand on her own – two things she never did at all before she began using medical marijuana.
The problem has been, however, that since cannabis oil wasn’t specifically provided for under the law, Ida has worried that one day she’d be reported to DHS even though she’s a registered medical marijuana caregiver for her daughter.
Happily for Ida, the new legislation allowing products other than smoked marijuana was made retroactive. She no longer needs to fear. The new law may have an impact on some pending legal cases as well. Other medical users out there, like Ida, who were using other forms and have been charged with felonies may have the chance to have their charges dropped.
It may not work out for Pete Trzos. His lawyers are no doubt working as hard as they can for him. In addition, juries may be influenced by the fact that there is now licensing provision for medical marijuana dispensaries. However, the law is not retroactive for this part of the medical marijuana system.
There are still pending cases like Pete’s that would have been legal and provided for under law if they’d opened in 2016. Unfortunately for Pete, he opened his business too soon.
Help for Michigan’ Confusing Medical Marijuana System
If you have gotten tangled in Michigan’s confusing medical marijuana system, it’s time to hire an experienced lawyer who will work for you. Contact my office today.