Felony synthetic THC charge tossed in Michigan man’s battle with crime lab

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GRAND HAVEN, MI — A judge has sided with a Spring Lake man in his battle to get a felony marijuana charge dismissed, a case that hinged on controversial state police testing methods.

 

Ottawa County Circuit Court Judge Ed Post granted a motion to quash the case against 35-year-old Max Lorincz, who was charged with possessing synthetic THC.

 

Max_Lorincz_KomornLaw

 

Lorincz was charged in early 2015 with possessing marijuana after police responded to his house for a medical call and found a small container containing a dab of marijuana oil. Lorincz uses the oil to control pain after a 2005 debilitating back injury.

Lorincz argued he was a registered medical marijuana patient and refused to plead guilty to the charge. Prosecutors then upgraded the count to the felony.

 

Related: Michigan’s medical marijuana law circumvented by crime labs’ THC reports, attorney charges

 

Prosecutors alleged the charge was appropriate because state police crime lab technicians simply listed the oil as containing THC, with the origin unknown because there was no plant-based material found.

 

Ottawa County Prosecutor Ron Frantz earlier described the charging decision as a “legal question of statutory interpretation.”

 

But Lorincz’s attorney, Michael Komorn, argued that prosecutors need more evidence before they can file a charge of synthetic THC. In Lorincz’s case, the oil was from marijuana, he said.

 

Related: ‘It’s been a nightmare,’ man says of contested synthetic marijuana charge

 

Komorn argued some prosecutors across the state have pressured the crime lab to report oils and waxes as “origin unknown,” allow them to pursue harsher charges.

The troubles surrounding the felony charge for Lorincz involved more than just a criminal case.

 

Authorities placed the 6-year-old son of Lorincz and his wife into foster care after an Ottawa County Family Court petition was filed. Their son has been in foster care for more than a year and the couple, as of late October, only had supervised visitation rights.

 

A hearing is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 22, to review the Family Court case.

Frantz issued the following statement following Post’s ruling:

 

“The court’s decision turned on definitions and statutory language that we believed supported the charge as written. The District Court judge found our interpretation to be correct, Circuit Judge Post disagreed and ruled otherwise,” Frantz wrote.

 

“We believe the increasing prevalence of extremely high potency marijuana-based and synthetic-based drugs is reason to update and clarify our statutes,” he said.

 

 

http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2016/01/felony_synthetic_thc_charged_t.html#incart_river_home

 

 

E-mail John Tunison: jtunison@mlive.com and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/johntunison