Pubdate: Sun, 18 Jan 2015
Source: Daily Tribune, The (Royal Oak, MI)
Copyright: 2015 The Daily Tribune
Author: Dave Phillips


Justices of the Michigan Supreme Court spent Thursday morning 
listening to oral arguments in three medical marijuana cases that 
began in Oakland County.

Up first was the case of Richard Hartwick, who was accused of 
illegally growing and possessing marijuana in September 2011 in Pontiac.

"There's no evidence he sold to anyone else," Hartwick's attorney, 
Fred Miller, told the court. "There's no evidence he was doing anything wrong."

Hartwick, who has a medical marijuana card, believes that he is 
immune due to his status as a cardholder.

"My client's got under four ounces," Miller said. "He's got six 
people he provides for. I think under Section 4 this case should have 
been dismissed."

Section 4 refers to a portion of t he state's medical marijuana act, 
which states, i n part, that a qualifying patient with a registry 
identification card cannot be arrested or prosecuted if the patient 
possesses less than 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana and 12 marijuana 
plants. Caregivers may not possess more than 2.5 ounces of usable 
marijuana and 12 marijuana plants for each patient they have.

"He has cards and he's got an amount of marijuana (under the limit), 
I believe that's all he's got to prove," Miller said.

Prosecutors said Hartwick had 78 marijuana plants (si x more than the 
limit for six people) in his home, in a room that was not locked (the 
law requires plants to be kept in a locked area). Hartwick said si x 
of those plants were stems in cups and should not count.

In its appellee brief, prosecutors also said Hartwick did not know 
what his patients' conditions were.

"Marijuana remains illegal in the state of Michigan," Oakland County 
Assistant Prosecutor Jeffrey M. Kaelin said.

Thursday's session spent a large amount of time on Section 4, as well 
as Section 8 of the act, which states that a patient and/or caregiver 
"may assert the medical purpose for using marihuana as a defense to 
any prosecution involving marihuana," as long as they meet certain 

The court also heard arguments in two other cases: Robert Tuttle, 
who, like Hartwick, believes his possession of a medical marijuana 
card entitled him to immunity and an affirmative defense, and Cynthia 
Mazur, whose husband was a medical marijuana caregiver when their 
home in Holly was raided in 2011. Mazur said she "did not help her 
husband grow, transfer, deliver, feed or otherwise care for or deal 
with the medical marijuana plants," according to her application for 
leave to appeal.
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