Are Courts Finally Beginning to Understand Cannabis?

Judge Sternly Pointing
Photo by: Indypendenz/Shutterstock

Recently, the Michigan Appeals Court made headlines when it overturned a drug conviction for a man in Tuscola County. Johnnie Randall was originally accused of illegally producing cannabis, despite having a medical card giving him legal authority to do so.

Authorities arrested Johnnie when they found cannabis in his truck, which led to discovery of dozens of plants in a nearby building. Johnnie was accused of possessing more cannabis (by weight) than he was legally allowed to possess with his medical license.

The problem? Prosecutors did not understand the fundamental difference between “usable” cannabis and other plant materials. The amount of flower that was actually dried and ready for use was far below the legal threshold granted by Randall’s medical card, but the court originally attempted to charge him for the weights of every single plant, undeveloped or otherwise, in the building. That is, they weighed out the unusable stalks, the leaves, the roots, and lumped that all in with the ‘weight’ in the original charge.

This decision has since been appealed, and rightfully so. Hopefully this is a sign that courts are finally beginning to understand how cannabis actually works.

A similar problematic case is proceeding through the courts in Oklahoma, in which two Florida men were caught travelling with “over $250,000” worth of cannabis edibles, oils, and other products from Colorado in the trunk of their car. The bag containing the products weighed nearly fifty pounds. Despite the fact that only a fraction of that weight was comprised active cannabis ingredients (the weight was probably mostly chocolates and candies), authorities are pursuing charges for trafficking fifty pounds of cannabis. Yet another issue is that authorities are charging the duo for trafficking the “street value” of the products in non-legal states, totaling over $250,000, when the actual value of the products is about one fifth of that number.

The potential sentence for trafficking that much cannabis in Oklahoma? The duo could be spending life behind bars.

We are hoping that the courts figure out how cannabis actually works before that happens.