MN Court of Appeals rejects medical marijuana defense

A medical marijuana prescription from a state where it’s legal will not prevent you from being busted in Minnesota, the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed today.

The court upheld the possession conviction of Jeffrey Thiel, who was stopped by a state patrol officer in 2011 for speeding. The trooper smelled marijuana and a K-9 dog found two Mason jars of pot.

Thiel argued at his trial that he had a right to enter evidence that he had a California prescription for the marijuana, but the district court denied his attempt.

In his appeal, Thiel’s attorney said Minnesota’s anti-marijuana laws denied Thiel equal protection under the Constitution.

But Chief Judge Edward Cleary said the argument presumes marijuana has a “currently accepted medical use.”

Appellant maintains that the use of marijuana is a form of health care affordable to him, and he claims that he has a fundamental right to affordable health care while at the same time he concedes that affordable health care has not been recognized as a fundamental right.

Given the continuing debate over the extent of the use of marijuana for medical purposes, there is a legitimate state purpose in classifying marijuana as a Schedule I substance and treating possessors of marijuana for medical use differently than possessors of Schedule II substances for medical use.

Without evidence that marijuana has a medicinal purpose, “Minnesota need not incorporate California’s decision to permit medical patients to possess and use marijuana,” Cleary said in today’s ruling.

And since the state doesn’t recognize it, there was no point allowing Thiel to enter evidence of a valid California prescription.