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Med. marijuana charges could be a "black eye" for MI crime lab

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the Michigan State Police crime lab, alleging that the lab is misrepresenting test results of medical marijuana in an effort to charge medical marijuana caregivers and patients with drug felonies.

According to the lawsuit, the crime lab is treating marijuana plant-based oils and edibles as containing synthetic cannabinoid Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in order to convert a misdemeanor crime into a drug felony.

The civil rights lawsuit claims that the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan pressured the crime lab to misrepresent the test results in order to make it easier for medical marijuana patients and caregivers to be charged with serious drug crimes.

The issue centers on the crime lab results indicating that the source of THC from a sample of oil as being "unknown," thereby allowing prosecutors to argue that it "could be" from a synthetic source if the sample did not contain plant material. This would unlikely, given that there is an easily available supply of marijuana plants from which to extract oil.

It appears that the lawsuit is claiming that prosecutors are using this potential, but highly unlikely test outcome to allow them to sidestep the lawful possession of medical marijuana under state law and threaten patients with possible felony charges in spite of their legal possession of the oil.

While prosecutors have to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction, they may try to use the threat of a felony drug charge to force accused medical marijuana patients to accept a lesser criminal charge, when they should face no criminal jeopardy at all.

One crime lab employee commented that such prosecutions could be a "miscarriage of justice" and would be a "black eye" for the lab.

Source: mlive.com, "Crime labs 'bend science' to strip medical marijuana rights, lawsuit says," John Agar, June 23, 2016

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