With the legalization of both medical and adult-use marijuana in Michigan, marijuana use is becoming more normalized and accepted. However, smoking marijuana while driving or driving while “intoxicated” by marijuana is still explicitly illegal according to Michigan law.
But what if you consumed marijuana earlier in the day, waited a few hours and then drove a motor vehicle when sober only to get pulled over?
Difference Between Alcohol and Marijuana
Often during a traffic stop, the driver will be asked, “have you used alcohol or drugs today?” by a police officer. Unlike alcohol, there are multiple ways to consume cannabis, such as:
- Smoking marijuana bud
- Eating edibles made from cannabutter such as cookies, brownies, etc.
- Vaping THC oil or dry herb
Each method results in slightly different physical and mental effects due to each individual absorption process. While smoking cannabis bud, THC enters the lungs then passes from the lungs into the bloodstream, which then enters the brain. The effects of marijuana begin quicker, however last for a shorter period of time than edibles.
This is why the case for marijuana impairment is not as clear cut as alcohol, since the mediums it can be consumed in range vastly.
Do I Have to Take a Standard Field Sobriety Test?
Do not feel obligated to answer the question above simply because a member of law enforcement asked you to. This is because if a police officer believes that you may be under the influence of marijuana while driving, they will continue that investigation. You do not want to give them more reasons to incriminate you.
The investigation will likely progress in the following steps:
- The police officer will ask you to step out from the driver’s side of the vehicle. This is not something you can argue. You must oblige if you do not want to be arrested and escalate the situation.
- The police officer will then try to administer standard field sobriety test(s) (SFSTs). You have the right to not take these tests. Our advice? Politely decline the officer’s request, since most of these tests such as the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) and one-leg stand (OLS) are not designed to measure impairment of marijuana, only alcohol.
For more information on what to do if you are pulled over after smoking marijuana, watch below >>
Hire a Lawyer Immediately After Your Marijuana DUI Arrest
While we do not condone nor encourage driving under the influence of marijuana whatsoever, it is important that Michigan residents know their rights if they face this scenario. The legalization of recreational marijuana is something law enforcement is still catching up to, so mistakes are expected to be made that unfortunately can unjustly alter someone’s life. Contact our team of experienced DUI lawyers today for a free case evaluation here.
Sydney Fairman is the Social Media Marketing Specialist for the Law Offices of Barton Morris and Cannabis Legal Group. While at Central Michigan University, Sydney was an active member of Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority and held various internships, leadership and part-time positions. These places of employment include the City of Mt. Pleasant, Grand Central Magazine, Mackinac State Historic Parks and WCMU Public Media (PBS). She graduated in May 2018 with a Bachelors Degree in Applied Arts in Integrative Public Relations and minor in Journalism. Sydney comes to us after her first position post-college with Gale, a Cengage Company as a Marketing Associate. She possesses a passion for writing, marketing and graphic design and showcases this on the Law Offices of Barton Morris’ website/social media channels, as well as Cannabis Legal Group’s website/social media channels.