Saturday, December 31, 2016

Does Growing More Marijuana Plants Than Permitted For Lawful Medical Use Reflect Adversely On Fitness?

An attorney's role in growing more marijuana plants than the 24 permitted under Michigan's Medical Marijuana Act is at issue in an Illinois disciplinary proceeding. 

The attorney has filed an  answer to the complaint alleging a violation of Rule 8.4(c) which provides that it is professional misconduct to

commit[] a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects

 The answer does not contest that

From approximately June 2012 to December 2013, Respondent and his then-girlfriend, Samantha Lumley ("Lumley"), maintained a rented home at 3590 138th Street in Hamilton, Allegan County, Michigan (the "Hamilton residence"). During this time, Respondent traveled between Hamilton, Michigan and Bolingbrook, Illinois, where he also maintained a residence (the "Bolingbrook residence").

In or around June 2012, Respondent and Lumley Permitted For obtained medical marijuana cards under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (the "Act"). Section 333.26424(a) of the Act allows a registered person, referred to as a qualifying patient, to legally possess 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana and grow up to 12 marijuana plants for medicinal purposes, unless that person has a designated primary caregiver who is assisting them with their medical use of marijuana. A primary caregiver is legally allowed to possess 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana and grow up to 12 marijuana plants for each qualifying patient they are assisting, up to five patients, pursuant to Section 333.26424(b) of the Act. Lumley was a primary caregiver with one patient, Respondent, and was therefore allowed to possess a total of five ounces of usable marijuana and grow up to 24 marijuana plants.

Between June 2012 and December 2013, Lumley grew more than 24 marijuana plants at one time in the garage of the Hamilton residence. Lumley also manufactured marijuana butter, marijuana oil capsules, and marijuana laced candy, and sold these products to third parties. Respondent had knowledge of Lumley's manufacture and sale of marijuana, and he provided informational and financial assistance to Lumley's operation.

On December 4, 2013, Lumley mailed a package from Michigan containing marijuana oil to Respondent's Bolingbrook residence. The West Michigan Enforcement Team ("WEMET"), a multi-jurisdictional drug enforcement task force, intercepted the package and traced it back to Lumley.

The attorney was present at the Hamilton residence when the enforcement team arrived.

He denies knowledge of Lumley's expanded activities prior to that time.

He initially pled guilty to conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and was placed on deferred probation.

After the probation was successfully completed, he pled to a high court misdemeanor charge of maintaining a drug house and the conspiracy charges were dismissed.

He was in custody for 27 days.

The answer neither admits or denies the legal conclusion that the conduct violated Rule 8.4(b). (Mike Frisch)

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2016/12/an-answer-has-been-filed-in-an-illinois-disciplinary-matter.html

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