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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

My Castle, My Outdoor Fortress - By Daniel L. Price, Esquire

Last month I wrote that you are the King of your castle, and that you should assert your rights to privacy.  These rights apply to everything, including your property outside your home.  You do not have to let police officers inspect your home or your land without a warrant. 

     It’s officially spring in Michigan.  That means caregivers can save money by growing outdoors.  But how can one grow outdoors without getting into trouble with government actors who desire to violate your right to self-determination?  Obviously, you do NOT want to grow any more than your allotted number of plants per patient.  That means no more than 12 plants per registered patient that designated you as their caregiver.  And, just to be on the safe side, you may wish to grow 10 plants per patient.      In Michigan, the “Michigan Medical Marihuana Act” (“MMMA”), MCL §333.26423 explains what constitutes an, “enclosed, locked facility”.  As far as growing outdoors, the MMMA specifically allows this in its definition of “enclosed, locked facility”. 

     The MMMA states that plants grown outdoors are considered to be in an “enclosed, locked facility” under the following rules:

1.  Plants must not be visible to the unaided eye from an adjacent property, when viewed at ground level, or from a permanent structure;

2.  Plants must be grown in a stationary structure;

3.  The structure in which you grow your plants must be enclosed on all sides, except the base;

4.  The materials used to enclose the structure may include chain-link fencing, wooden slats, or similar material;

5.  The materials must prevent access by the general public;

6.  The materials must be anchored, attached, or affixed to the ground;

7.  The structure must be located on land that is owned, leased, or rented by either the registered qualifying patient, or a person designated through the LARA registration process as the primary caregiver for the registered qualifying patient(s) for whom the plants are grown;

8.  The structure must be equipped with functioning locks or other security devices that restrict access to only the registered qualifying patient or the registered primary caregiver who owns, leases, or rents the property on which the structure is located.

     The best way to interpret the above is to simply say what I would do in order to be protected by the MMMA.  Essentially, I would build a modified greenhouse, on property I own, lease or rent.  I would pick the highest area so that a person cannot see down into the enclosure.  I would measure out the space I need, and sink posts at least 18 inches in the ground and anchor these with cement.  Sturdy, 4” x 4”, or better yet, 6” x 6” treated lumber posts would be ideal in my opinion.  Also, I would build a concrete rat wall, so I can anchor the sides to the ground.

     I would then build the sides of my structure, again using solid material that is not easily torn away.  I would likely use ½” to ¾” thick hardwood plywood.  This is sturdy, and easy to stain or paint so it will look nice, while not allowing anyone to see inside.   The sides would likely be able to be 8’ tall.  Of course I would check the local ordinances for the building of structures to make sure I am in compliance with those.  

     The key is to fully enclose the area on all sides, with a door for access.  Just make sure that the inside cannot be seen from the neighbor’s yards or homes.  I would make sure I have a lock on the door at all times.  A good idea is to install a deadbolt lock on the door.  You may even want another lock on the outside of the door.  And, I would be the only person with a key, and the only person with access to the area.

      I might consider leaving the top open.  Or, I might build a roof frame so that I can cover the top with clear plastic.  This would allow the sun to shine through, while keeping bugs and other critters out.  A clear plastic covering that can easily be rolled on and off would also allow better temperature, and moisture content control. 

     This may sound a bit extravagant and expensive.  However, the expense of legal fees and possibly jail time is much more costly than making sure you build an “enclosed, locked facility”, in order to keep the protections of the MMMA. 

     Next month I’ll address another legal issue of medical marihuana.  Until then, keep rolling on.

Disclaimer:  This is an informational article only.  It is not to provide individual legal advice.  If you need legal services, feel free to contact me at, or any attorney of your choosing.

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