In Michigan, the state Court of Appeals has ruled that drivers cannot have any level of marijuana in their system, regardless of their status as medical marijuana patients.
Michigan adopts a zero tolerance policy when it comes to detectable amounts of Schedule 1 drugs in your blood stream while operating a motor vehicle, and the court has decided that marijuana still classifies as a Schedule 1 drug, despite the fact that medical marijuana use in the state is okay.
This appeal comes after the Grand Traverse County case ruled that the state’s medical marijuana law superseded that state’s zero tolerance policy, and that a jury would not be told about the marijuana in the system of Rodney Koon, a man who was pulled over for driving 83 mph in a 55 mph zone and who admitted to smoking marijuana five or six hours previously. Koon is a licensed medical marijuana patient.
According to the Court of Appeals, the medical marijuana legislation acknowledges that there will be situations where medical marijuana use would not be permitted and that the law specifically states that one of these would be when operating a vehicle.
The appeals panel wrote:
This is certainly not an irrational provision. For example, it is not uncommon for a medication, whether prescription or over the counter, to be accompanied by a warning not to drive while using the medication.
The problem is, the medical marijuana law doesn’t define ‘under the influence of marijuana.’ What we are left with is the (medical marijuana law), which affords a certain degree of immunity from prosecution for possession or use of marijuana for a medical purpose, and the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code, which prohibits operating a motor vehicle while there is any amount of marijuana in the driver’s system.
Essentially, whereas the medical marijuana law allows for the possession of weed, it does not allow for using marijuana where it would otherwise be illegal. And, if this points to anything, it is that a zero tolerance policy to driving while high is kind of ridiculous and that some kind of guidelines are needed. What those guidelines are, though, remains to be seen.
[Via Michigan Live]
What should the rules be about driving while high? Do you think a medical marijuana card should allow you the privilege of driving on weed?