by The Social Revolution staff
This week the Michigan Court of Appeals delivered a verdict in a case which mandates a change to policy and procedure used by most of Michigan’s probation systems. In a unanimous decision the three-judge Appellate panel ruled that registered medical cannabis patients can use cannabis while on probation. That case was brought by cannabis patient Michael Thue of Traverse City and argued by Komorn Law.
In their decision the judges ruled that the language of the Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) forbids penalties against patients for certified medical use, and that denying access to medicinal cannabis amounted to a penalty.
Michael appeared on Jazz Cabbage Café cannabis podcast on February 16 to talk about what happened to him, how he responded to it and the result he secured for all Michigan patients. You can listen to the full episode or just the Michael Thue interview.
Throughout the entirety of the medical cannabis era in Michigan, most Courts have intentionally ignored the medical cardholder’s status and denied probationers the right to use their medicine just like anyone else. “Some allowed it,” observed Debra Young, “but you had to fight for it, you had to file motions… Most judges were NOT cool with it.”
Michael explained to hosts Rick Thompson and Jamie Lowell that the charges stem from an incident several years ago. Michael was released from his Court obligations in December of 2020; he could have dropped the case at that point, since he was no longer in jeopardy, but he made the decision to push forward in order to set a legal precedent which would be binding on all Courts in Michigan.
The prosecutor could have appealed the Appellate decision to the Michigan Supreme Court, which would have continued Thue’s legal journey. According to reporting from Michigan Public Radio and others, the Grand Traverse County prosecutor has declined to appeal to the higher court, meaning the Appellate decision is the final verdict on this issue. The prosecutor didn’t even prepare briefs for the case, Thue told Jazz Cabbage.
The absurdity of the system was clearly illustrated by Michael on Jazz Cabbage. He described being denied the use of medicinal cannabis by the judge, then received a prescription of Marinol from his doctor to combat pain from spinal stenosis. Marinol is an FDA-approved drug, described by Brandy Zink as “100% THC” in a liquid form. THC is the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis.
Michael went back to the judge with evidence that all drug tests he took would be positive for THC, thus eliminating the reason the Court banned his access to cannabis. “The judge approved my use of Marinol and knew I would drop dirty for THC, but denied my motion to use medical marijuana in the plant form,” he remembered, with a laugh.
Michael is all in on cannabis and has been for a very long time. “It’s my passion. This is my church… This really has become my ministry, my mission, my outreach.”
He described meeting current and former NORML of Michigan Board members Brad Forrester and Melody Karr in 2009 to receive his very first certification for medicinal use of cannabis. His Center currently performs certifications for medicinal cannabis patients in Traverse City.
This latest victory is just one in a long line of successes over the last twelve years, Michael acknowledged. “It’s because of advocates and people like Jamie and Rick and Tim Beck and Charles Ream and countless other individuals that this law has changed… My whole goal has always been to fight the system, to (force) change.”
“We are moving towards a brighter day,” Thompson summed. “We are moving towards a better future with cannabis.”
Jazz Cabbage hosts Thompson and Lowell have collectively and individually received awards and accolades from the national cannabis community. The February 9 episode included the cast of Mi Canna Cast; Brandy Zink, who is leading up the effort to re-launch the Americans for Safe Access chapter in Michigan; famed rock guitarist Razor Ray Reyes; and Debra Young, legendary petitioning expert.
Jazz Cabbage Café is a unique super-show featuring hosts of other successful Michigan-based cannabis programming, including Shelly Smith (Reads and Weeds); Jim Salame and Colin MacDougall (the Entheo Show); Berg Berg (Medical Mondays); Thompson (Four20Post) and Lowell (The Planet Green Trees Show). The podcast is in its fifth season. Episodes are available on podcast streaming platforms and are broadcast live weekly on Facebook at 4pm Tuesday.