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Court of Appeals: Medical marijuana cardholders can’t smoke in their cars

marijuana plant
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A medical marijuana clinic owner offered pot to customers who also registered to vote

The Michigan Court of Appeals says having a medical marijuana card does not give someone the right to smoke pot in a parked car in a public place.

Medical marijuana cardholder Robert Carlton was busted and charged with a misdemeanor for smoking pot in the parking lot of a casino in Mount Pleasant. Michigan’s medical marijuana law specifically bans smoking pot in public places.

He got the charged dismissed by arguing the interior of his car is a private, not a public, place. The prosecutor appealed. A majority on the three-judge appeals court panel agreed with the prosecutor that what mattered is the parking lot is readily accessible to the public, and that makes it a public place. It sent the case back to the lower court for the charge to be reinstated.

Carlton may appeal the decision to the Michigan Supreme Court.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.