Michigan Medical Marijuana Patients Can Now Drive Legally

hmed_marijuana_1106In Michigan, it is unlawful to drive a motor vehicle with any amount of a schedule one controlled substance in your body.  A schedule one controlled substance is one that is deemed to have a high potential for abuse and no medical value.  The Federal government is responsible for determining what drug should be classified under schedule one.

The federal government currently believes that THC (marijuana) qualifies.  Therefore, In Michigan it is unlawful to drive a car with any amount of marijuana in your system. This puts legitimate medical marijuana patients in jeopardy, which is unfair because they are more likely to have legal THC in their body.  This makes Michigan’s Motor Vehicle Code (MVC) selectively unfair against medical marijuana users.

The MMMA specifically states that a card carrying patient cannot drive while being intoxicated by marijuana.  That part of the statute contradicts the MVC, which states that a person may not drive with any amount of marijuana in their body and it does not matter if a driver is intoxicated by the marijuana or not.

In the long awaited decision of People v. Koon, on May 21, 2013 the Michigan Supreme Court unanimously decided that the “any amount” provision of the MVC does not apply to MMMA card holders. This decision is a BIG win for Medical Marijuana patients and advocates.

Before Koon, for a card holding medical marijuana patient, a police officer would arrest someone if there was any evidence of marijuana use. Now that officer must have evidence that any prior marijuana use caused medical marijuana patient’s driving to be impaired. This evidence would typically come from observation of driving and analysis of properly administered balance and coordination tests otherwise known as field sobriety tests (FST’s).

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For a card carrying medical marijuana patient to be convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana the prosecution must prove the driver was intoxicated BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. I like to say that if there is any doubt and it is reasonable, my client is NOT GUILTY.

This positive interpretation of the medical marijuana law will lead to the increased use of Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) who are trained to detect and investigate driving under the influence of all types of illicit drugs and controlled substances. DRE enforcement will be more prevalent in the months and years to come. It is important that defense attorneys stay one step ahead of law enforcement strategies and tactics especially when they do not have a solid scientific base (DRE programs do not). I have already been trained and taken a DRE educational seminar so this will be the subject of a blog post very soon.

Attorney Morris has enjoyed a very successful and distinguished career as a trial lawyer providing high quality legal representation in the area of state and federal criminal defense for 19 years. He is known for his trial preparation by fellow attorneys, judges and clients alike. As a trial attorney, he is dedicated to attaining justice in every case, and is prepared to take on complex legal issues with success. Barton and his law firm pride themselves on obtaining results for their clients that other attorneys cannot.

Not only does Barton Morris have extensive experience, he also engages in continuing legal education to provide the highest quality legal services. Barton has received specialized scientific training through the American Chemical Society. He attended the prestigious Trial Lawyers College and serves on its Alumni Association Board of Directors. Barton Morris is also a board member of several distinguished legal associations including the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys, and the DUI Defense Lawyer’s Association Justice Foundation. He is also an active member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and has also graduated from their National Criminal Defense Trial College in Macon, Georgia.

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Barton Morris was chosen as a Top Lawyer of Metro Detroit for 2012, 2013 & 2014 for DUI/DWI and criminal defense by DBusiness Magazine and Hour Magazine. Barton Morris was also chosen as a Super Lawyer in Criminal Defense for 2014-2017 and Barton Morris is the only Lawyer in Michigan designated by the American Chemical Society as a “Forensic Lawyer-Scientist”

July 1st, 2013|