Michigan state police crime labs are putting thousands of medical marijuana patients and caregivers at risk of being charged with a felony. Forensic labs in Michigan are stating that THC, which is the psychoactive ingredient that occurs naturally in marijuana and is found in marijuana oils and edibles, comes from an unknown origin. They say because the plant can’t be seen in oils and edibles, it could be synthetic, making it Schedule I THC which is illegal and incurs a felony charge. The Prosecuting Attorney’s Association of Michigan (PAAM) has created a policy that says if the plant is not visible, as in the case of oils and edibles, they can presume it is synthetic. This puts approximately 200,000 patients and caregivers with medical marijuana cards at risk of being arrested and prosecuted for use of edibles or oils.
Details of the Lawsuit
The move has sparked a class-action lawsuit to be filed in the U.S District Court in Detroit against state police Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue and Inspector Scott Marier, who is the interim director of the Forensic Science Division, by Maxwell Lorincz of Spring Lake and 3 others who are all medical marijuana patients or caregivers. The case focuses on licensed patient Lorincz who was wrongly charged with a felony for having medical marijuana oil residue in his possession. The others who are filing alongside him are licensed caregiver Brandon Shoebe, licensed patient and caregiver Earl Cantrell Carruthers (who are both from Oakland County) and licensed patient Jason Poe (from Livingston County).
Policy Changes Better Established “Probable Cause”
The group’s lawyer Michael Komorn stated in the lawsuit, “At least one reason for the policy change was to better establish probable cause to arrest medical marijuana patients, obtain forfeiture of their assets, charge them with crimes they did not commit, and to allow felony charges against others for what is at most a misdemeanor.” He continues, “Maxwell and the approximately 200,000 other participants in the (medical marijuana program) face the prospect of being wrongly detained, searched, and prosecuted as a result of the Forensic Division’s official reporting policy regarding marijuana.”
Absurd Scrutiny of Marijuana Oil and Edibles
In the case of Lorincz, the state crime lab’s own report said the THC was plant-based. Although with the new policy in place, if the plant can’t be physically seen, the THC must be determined to be of unknown origin and potentially synthetic. This puts everyone with marijuana oil and edibles at risk, regardless of whether they are patients or caregivers. A crime lab scientist wrote that it’s highly unlikely that any of the marijuana based products they have seen contain synthesized THC.
Undersheriff Michael McCabe has denied that the police have any involvement with PAAM and the process of analyzing results. Korman believes the Forensic Division and PAAM are working together to create the damaging policy and its devastating effects on patients. He stated that the Forensic Division even changed their manuals to ensure that scientists report the false results with regards to THC and marijuana oils and edibles. He believes they are trying to strip away patients’ rights and immunities, threaten or charge citizens, get plea deals and get more money and proceeds from drug forfeiture. The law suit has been filed to stop this behavior and policies from being able to continue in the state of Michigan.