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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Driving Under the Influence of Medical Marijuana

The Medical Marijuana Act provides medical pot users with certain immunities relative to their use of marijuana.  Even a medical marijuana patient, however, cannot "medicate" while driving a vehicle, raising the question: just how much pot legally can be in the patient-driver's system?

Earlier this week, the Michigan Supreme Court released a much-anticipated decision resolving a conflict in the Motor Vehicle Code and the Medical Marijuana Act here in Michigan.  In a unanimous per curiam opinion, issued without oral arguments, the Supreme Court held in People v Koon that a medical marijuana patient is legal to drive a vehicle, even with some THC in his blood.

Rodney Koon was charged under the "zero tolerance" provision of the Motor Vehicle Code which proscribes driving with any amount of a Schedule 1 drug in the driver's system.  Koon, a properly registered medical marijuana patient, was initially stopped for speeding in Grand Traverse County.

Both the district court and the Grand Traverse County Circuit Court agreed with Mr. Koon's lawyers that the MMA provided Koon with immunity from prosecution under the motor vehicle code's "zero tolerance" provision -case dismissed.  The Michigan Court of Appeals reversed that dismissal, reasoning that even under the MMA, driving under the influence of marijuana remains illegal, and concluding that any amount of marijuana found in a driver's system constitutes "under the influence".

The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that some proof that a driver is operating a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana is necessary; evidence of a miniscule amount of THC in that driver's blood-stream, without more, is not enough to strip that driver of the immunity from prosecution available under the MMA.

This decision essentially amounts to a "sliding-scale" for pot-card carrying drivers.  You had better be sure sufficient time has elapsed between toking-down, and getting behind the wheel. 

We here at the Law Blogger suggest that 15 or 20 minutes clearly is not sufficient to keep the rest of us safe from a pot patient's stoned driving.  But what about an hour or two? 

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5 Comments:

Blogger MMJSource said...

Driving under the Influence of medical marijuana charged as crime so don't drive under the influence of marijuana. But its a good thing that for a marijuana patient legal the drive a vehicle with some THC in blood. Providing useful information i appreciate your efforts.
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May 28, 2013 at 5:46 AM 
OpenID edwardnorton2 said...

As we all know Medical Marijuana is also a form of a drug so I don’t think is it safe to drive after take the medical marijuana. It will harm our body and also can affect our whole life.


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June 27, 2013 at 6:46 AM 
Blogger John peterson said...

its a nice one. . . holding that some proof that a driver is operating a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana is necessary; evidence of a miniscule amount of THC in that driver's blood-stream, without more - See more at: http://oplawblog.blogspot.com/2013/05/driving-under-influence-of-medical.html#sthash.ZDGJaqt3.dpuforder Canadian medical marijuana

July 11, 2013 at 2:10 AM 
Anonymous Vada said...

This is cool!

August 1, 2013 at 2:27 AM 
Blogger poli pal said...

It's a nice post and have much information. I'll bookmark and be back again. Dynamic Business Intelligence

August 14, 2013 at 1:03 AM 

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