Lab Treats Natural THC as SyntheticJan 08, 2016, by Criminal Defense, Drug Crimes, Legal Blog, Marijuana in
If you make pot brownies and get busted by the Michigan State Police, you could face felony synthetic THC charges even though your brownies were completely natural. This is because documents obtained in October by the Michigan Public Radio Network show that the Michigan State Police’s forensic science laboratory has been instructed to classify cannabis oils, hash, and edibles as containing THC of unknown origin.
Michigan’s Crime Lab May Falsely Classify Natural Cannabis Products
When prosecutors get a hold of lab reports that do not specify the origin of the THC contained in the suspected cannabis product, they are able to make an argument that the cannabis product contained synthetic THC. While the non-authorized possession of marijuana is a misdemeanor, Michigan treats the possession of synthetic THC as a felony.
In response, a group of criminal defense attorneys led by Michael Komorn have complained to the US Department of Justice, stating that the Michigan State Police (MSP) should no longer oversee the state crime lab. These attorneys hope that the federal authorities will investigate and put an end to this damaging classification policy of THC products.
Federal Authorities May Investigate Michigan’s Crime Lab’s Practices
The state crime lab’s policy is to treat extracts that contain THC as being from an unknown origin whenever it is not absolutely clear the THC came from a marijuana plant. In other words, the crime lab will likely consider an extract to be synthetic if there is any possibility that it might contain any amount of synthetic THC—which is basically the case for all cannabis derivatives.
While it is normal for a laboratory operated by a law enforcement agency to collaborate with prosecutors in solving crimes, what has civil rights activist concerned in this case is that Michigan prosecutors seem to have influenced laboratory procedures to make it easier to convict marijuana users with more serious crimes.
Collusion Between Prosecutors and the Crime Lab is a Conflict of Interest
The laboratory’s job should be to provide objective and reliable evidence—not to use faulty scientific methods to corroborate the prosecutor’s version of events. Some believe that the directive may have been handed down from Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, whose anti-marijuana views are well known. This conflict of interest is unacceptable since it allows prosecutors to build their cases around evidence that misrepresents the truth.
When you contact the Michigan criminal defense lawyers with Davis Law Group, our priority is making sure our clients get a fair trial and that judges and prosecutors respect their rights. We are passionate about defending the rights of medical marijuana patients and caregivers, and have a track record for obtaining positive case outcomes on their behalf. If you’re facing charges related to the possession, cultivation, or distribution of medical marijuana in Michigan, you can call us today at (313) 818-3238 for a free and confidential consultation of your case.
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