Newly released information obtained by The Intercept reveal a Michigan crime lab in crisis over how to classify medical chronic.
Many people are aware of the medical benefits of cannabis, particularly the cannabinoid CBD, which is often used in oils and marijuana edibles.
The fact that CBD oil is non-psychoactive — it doesn’t get users “high” like its sister cannabinoid THC does — makes it an ideal solution for patients seeking the medical benefits of cannabis.
In Michigan, voters approved the personal use of medical marijuana in 2008. But Michigan law makes a distinction between “synthesized” THC and marijuana.
According to the law, possession of synthesized THC is carries a felony charge, whereas possessing marijuana or its derivatives without a medical license is only a misdemeanor.
Because of the rising popularity of cannabis edibles and medicinal products like CBD and hash oil, Michigan prosecutors have been searching for a way to issue higher charges against non-licensed marijuana users caught in possession of those products.
The situation has prompted medical marijuana advocates and defense attorneys to accuse Michigan prosecutors of pressuring the state’s crime lab to falsely classify the the origins of the THC found in hash oils and cannabis edibles as being of “unknown origin,” — that is, as “synthesized.”
The allegations claim that as Michigan forensic scientists debated how to classify oil and wax produced from marijuana plants, they were pressured by police and prosecutors to classify the products in a way that would facilitate harsher drug convictions.
And those sentences are indeed much harsher. Max Lorincz, a medical marijuana patient, lost custody of his child and now faces felony charges after the lab misleadingly classified the hash oil found in his home.
Fias, a state police lieutenant with West Michigan’s regional drug task force, had heard that lab analysts were classifying some oil as marijuana rather than THC. He asked: “Is there a way to get this changed? Our prosecutors are willing to argue that one speck of marijuana does not turn the larger quantity of oil/wax into marijuana.”
By classifying the THC found in edibles and oils as of “unknown origin,” prosecutors are able to argue that those oils and edibles are not in fact marijuana, paving the way toward felony charges.