A man accused of cultivating 1,100 marijuana plants in an unlicensed operation guarded by dogs will not face felony charges, thanks to a significant ruling by the Michigan Court of Appeals. The court, in a unanimous 3-0 decision, stated that a voter-approved law imposing lighter consequences on such cases takes precedence.
Shaaln Kejbou was initially charged with violating the state health code, a crime that could lead to a 15-year prison sentence, due to his extensive marijuana cultivation operation in Michigan's Thumb region. However, a 2018 law permitting the cultivation and recreational use of marijuana would reduce this offense to a 90-day misdemeanor for growing a large number of plants.
The court's ruling confirmed that Kejbou is governed by the more recent law. While this decision might seem unjust to businesses that have invested in permits and state licensing to grow and sell marijuana, the court emphasized that the remedy lies in the hands of the Legislature.
“This was a law that was approved by the electorate, and the Court of Appeals simply followed the plain language of the statute,” said Kejbou's attorney, Michael Kemnitz.
Under the law passed in 2018, individuals aged 21 and above are allowed to possess up to 12 plants and purchase marijuana products from state-licensed stores. However, the prosecutor’s office argued that Kejbou's marijuana could have fetched up to $3.5 million on the black market, indicating that this was not for personal use.
Kemnitz acknowledged that Kejbou's actions were still considered a crime, although it was no longer a felony. He pointed out that individuals engaging in such conduct could still face raids resulting in the destruction of their entire operation, making it economically unfeasible despite the reduced charge