Are you allowed to smoke marijuana then drive?
While it will always be illegal to smoke while you drive, the answer on smoking then driving is unfortunately more complicated than yes or no. With the recent legalization of marijuana in Michigan, many people are wondering how this will impact the driving laws in Michigan. After all, we all know about the .08 limit for drinking alcohol and driving.
What is the limit for marijuana?
The Michigan State Police sought to develop a “.08 standard” for marijuana use. They developed a commission to investigate if a scientific standard could be reached regarding impairment. The Law Offices of Barton Morris, with Barton as the contributing attorney, was the only defense firm consulted on this matter.
What did Michigan State Police find? No standard could be determined. Therefore, there is no “per se” limit to the amount of THC someone can have in their system. Instead, each incident must be taken on a case by case basis to determine impairment.
What does this mean for the recreational marijuana user?
This is a tremendous gift to the consumers of marijuana in this state. Instead of cracking under the pressure like other states, Michigan admits that no scientific evidence exists to show impairment based solely on a THC level. Thus, Michigan does not have a cutoff level at this time.
This gives those who are accused of OWI involving marijuana the opportunity to prove they were not impaired based on their actual ability to operate a vehicle, not some arbitrary number.
How do I know if I’m over the THC limit?
Use your common sense. Keeping the following in mind:
- If you do not know your tolerance, do not smoke then drive. Even if you do know your tolerance, be safe.
- The police will use any small infraction of the traffic laws to pull you over. If you admit to recently smoking, you will almost assuredly be arrested.
- Even if your THC levels are incredibly low, you may still be very impaired. Therefore, a person could have high levels but exhibit no signs of impairment.
- On the flip side, a novice user could have low tolerance and low THC levels, but still look very impaired.
The takeaway? BE SMART
This does not mean that you are free to use marijuana and drive; you must be responsible! Judges and many potential jurors still strongly dislike marijuana.
In addition, many police departments are training their officers in marijuana impairment detection. However, if you consumed responsibly and still find yourself in some legal trouble, give us a call. Do not allow the police to paint you as a criminal for using a legal substance. Exercise your rights and call our team of experienced and vigilant defense attorneys.
Christopher Urban graduated from Oakland University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. In addition to graduating Summa Cum Laude, Chris was awarded the Donald I. Warren Award for Academic Excellence throughout his time at the university. Upon graduation, Chris began working as Mr. Morris’ driver for court appointments to gain experience before law school. Chris was awarded the Dean’s Scholar Full Tuition Scholarship to Wayne State University. During his time in law school, Chris was a member of the Wayne State Law Mock Trial Team, being named Vice-Chairman his third year. He also worked in the Legal Advocacy for People with Cancer Clinic through Karmanos Cancer Center, providing legal services to low income individuals with cancer.
Chris brings a wealth of experience to the firm. He has performed numerous “ride-alongs” with the Macomb County Sheriff’s Department and the Sterling Heights Police Department. In addition, he was an intern at the Detroit DEA Field Office. Finally, he is a published author (Sexual Victimization: Then and Now. ISBN 978-1483308173). Chris has attended the NHTSA Field Sobriety Test Seminar and the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) seminar.
Christopher is also a member of the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD). Chris is one of a select few attorneys in Michigan to be a part of this prestigious college. He has attended the Summer Seminar at Harvard Law School, which focused specifically on OWI defense trial tactics. Moreover, he is preparing to become board certified as an OWI attorney. The NCDD holds the only specialty certifying test in DUI Law under the American Bar Association.