Medical Marijuana Drunk Driving In Michigan – When Does It occurs?

It may be considered a landmark case for the Michigan Medical Marihuana community. The Michigan Supreme Court, in People v Koon, has held that individuals who qualify for immunity will not automatically be found to be driving “under the influence” simply because they internally possess medical marihuana, and thus limiting the power of marijuana drunk driving charges issues by prosecutors throughout Michigan.

The Court distinguished the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code, MCL 257.625(8), from the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (aka MMMA), which allows for the use of medical marihuana. Moreover, the Court pointed out that the Act does forbid an individual from operating a motor vehicle under the influence of marihuana, i.e. marijuana drunk driving. MCL 333.26427(b). However, as the Court pointed out, the Act does not define what it means by “under the influence,” and thus the interpretation of what is “marijuana drunk driving” becomes debatable.

The Court concluded that the Motor Vehicle Code was not applicable to the Koon case. The reason for this is because the MMMA specifically states that any and all other statutes within the State of Michigan that are inconsistent with the MMMA will not apply to such individuals. However, in order to obtain such protection an individual must first qualify for the presumption of Immunity under Section 4 of the Act. It is important to note that the individuals must be engaged in the medical use of marihuana in order to qualify for this interpretation and not be seen as under the influence of marijuana.

In the end, an individual qualifying for immunity under Section 4 will be allowed to internally possess medical marihuana and operate a motor vehicle. Yet that still begs the question of what qualifies as “under the influence” of marihuana (or marijuana drunk driving) as defined in Section 7 of the Act?

To answer this question the case turns on other factors that occurred during and/or before the traffic stop, i.e. proving that you are visibly impaired, under the influence, or intoxicated by marijuana. They must actually prove marijuana drunk driving rather than simply showing that it is within an individual’s system.

This means that swerving, weaving, rolling stops, speeding, and the like will all come into play when an officer is attempting to establish reasonable suspicion and probable cause that you are under the influence of marihuana or visibly impaired. More over, the factors just listed, do not include the care smelling like burnt marihuana, an individual’s eye’s being red, a roach sitting in the ashtray, or the like, which will also increase the risk and probable cause that you are driving while under the influence.

Remember, know the law, know your rights, and lawyer-up with Josh Jones. He has your back and is here for all your marijuana criminal issues (medical and non-medical).

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About Josh Jones

Josh Jones is an experienced and professional Michigan Criminal Defense attorney presenting Metro Detroit, Genesee County, Livingston County, Lapeer County, and others throughout the State of Michigan. He is available 7-days a week and handles all felonies, misdemeanors, probation violations, traffic tickets, and drivers license restoration. Josh is only a phone call away and is here to help when you are involved with the criminal justice system.