Pubdate: Sun, 11 Jan 2015
Source: Oakland Press, The (MI)
Copyright: 2015 The Oakland Press
Author: Dave Phillips


Three medical marijuana cases from Oakland County are set for oral 
argument in front of the Michigan Supreme Court this week.

Cases involving Cynthia Ann Mazur, Robert Tuttle and Richard Lee 
Hartwick are scheduled to be heard Thursday. Hartwick's case is 
scheduled first, followed by Tuttle and Mazur. Court convenes at 9:30 
a.m. in Lansing.

Hartwick, who has a registry identification card, was accused of 
illegally growing and possessing marijuana in September 2011. He 
believes that possession of the card provided immunity from 
prosecution, according to a summary of the case on the Michigan 
Supreme Court website.

The trial court rejected that theory, Hartwick appealed and the state 
Court of Appeals upheld the trial court's ruling. Both sides have 
been directed to brief seven different issues, including whether 
Hartwick's entitlement to immunity is a question of law for the trial 
court to decide, whether factual disputes regarding immunity are to 
be resolved by the trial court and what a defendant's evidentiary 
burden is to establish immunity or an affirmative defense, the summary states.

Tuttle, who was arrested for selling marijuana to an undercover 
officer with the Oakland County Sheriff's Office, also believes his 
valid registry identification card entitled him to immunity and an 
affirmative defense. He was charged with the sale and production of 
marijuana and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

The sale, which involved seven ounces of marijuana, occurred in the 
parking lot of a Meijer in Waterford in November 2011, according to 
court documents.

The trial court rejected Tuttle's arguments, as did the Court of 
Appeals. Both sides have been asked to brief four issues, including 
whether a registered qualifying patient who makes unlawful sales of 
marijuana to another patient "taints all aspects of his marijuana 
related conduct, even that which is permitted under the act," 
according to the summary on the Supreme Court's website.

Mazur and her husband were arrested after authorities found marijuana 
growing in the basement of their home in Holly. Mazur's husband was a 
registered patient and the primary caregiver for two other patients. 
Mazur was charged with possession with intent to deliver marijuana 
and manufacturing marijuana. Her husband pleaded guilty to similar 
charges but she moved to dismiss them on the argument that she was 
entitled to immunity, the Supreme Court summary states.

The trial court denied Mazur's motions, and the Court of Appeals 
upheld the trial court's ruling. Both sides were asked to submit 
briefs regarding whether Mazur is entitled to immunity because her 
spouse was a registered qualifying patient and caregiver but was 
conducting marijuana-related activities that were not in full 
compliance with the act, the summary states.

In addition to those cases, the Michigan Supreme Court will also hear 
oral arguments regarding a sentencing guideline issue in an Oakland 
County murder case.

Rahim Lockridge, who was sentenced to eight to 15 years in prison on 
an involuntary manslaughter conviction, argues that the trial court 
"abused its discretion" by issuing a sentnece that included a 
10-month upward departure from the sentencing guidelines, the Supreme 
Court's summary states. He also said factors not admitted or proven 
to the jury beyond a reasonable doubt were improperly used in setting 
the sentencing guidelines.
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