A common question from clients when convicted of a crime is “Can I use my medical marijuana while I’m on probation.” The answer isn’t really simple. Felony probation officers are actually employees of the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC). Misdemeanor probation officers are usually employees of the county. The MDOC has a blanket stance against medical marijuana. No exceptions for anybody. Most misdemeanor probation departments have the same stance. That means it is up to the judge. If use you medical marijuana without the court’s permission, you face a probation violation.
When it comes to medical marijuana, some judges are skeptical and highly opposed, while others are more open to persuasion. This is why it is very helpful to be represented by a criminal defense lawyer that really knows your judge. Some are fine with it along as you have a valid Michigan Medical Marijuana Card. Some will make you choose between using your medical marijuana or driving. Others, will make you bring your doctor in to court so they can be cross-examined about why you need medical marijuana and why there are no other alternatives. Some judges won’t allow it. Period. It is true that you give up some of your freedoms when placed on probation, such as your freedom to travel, associate with known felons, and be in possession of weapons. Unfortunately for medical marijuana users, you can’t use marijuana while on probation either.
Here’s part of the problem. One of your conditions of probation is that you cannot violate any law, including: local ordinances, state law, and federal law. The problem is that marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Even if you have a state-issued medical marijuana card, the feds can still arrest you. If a judge were to permit you to use medical marijuana on probation, essentially they are giving you permission to break federal law. That just doesn’t sit well with a lot of judges. It also makes it very confusing and frustrating for probationers.
Almost all defendants want probation rather than be incarcerated. Probation is a gift of grace after all. However, no one wants to give up their medical marijuana to do it. The reality is, unless the law changes or judicial interpretation changes, probationers will have to live with that ultimatum. The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act is still relatively new and has had a disruptive impact of many areas of the law including child welfare, drunk driving, and probation just to name a few. It is also constantly evolving so it is important to keep up on the changes and to be represented by a criminal defense lawyer that is on top of all the recent developments.
It is important to be represented by an experienced criminal defense lawyer who can negotiate a sentencing agreement with no probation, non-reporting probation, or get the case dismissed or a not guilty verdict at trial. If you are facing criminal charges, a probation violation, or a violation of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, call Austin Legal Services, PLC today at (517) 614-1983 to speak to a Michigan criminal defense attorney.
Defending criminal and marijuana charges throughout Michigan in the counties of Ingham, Eaton, Clinton, Gratiot, Livingston, Jackson, Washtenaw, Kent, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Barry, and Shiawassee in the cities of Lansing, East Lansing, Mason, St. Johns, Ithaca, Brighton, Howell, Jackson, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, Hastings, Corunna, Durand.