In Michigan, You Can Smoke [Medical] Marijuana And Still Drive A Car

By Binu Paul , Updated May 25, 2013 11:54 AM EDT

According to a new ruling by The Michigan Supreme Court, medical marijuana users aren't automatically breaking the law if they're caught driving with the drug in their system.

The court unanimously overturned an appeals court decision and ruled that the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMA) supersedes a zero-tolerance drug policy provision of the Michigan Vehicle Code.  According MMMA, patients suffering from a number of diseases like cancer or Crohn's disease are allowed to consume marijuana as medicine if they have legitimate certification from a doctor.

The court overturned an appeals court decision involving Rodney Koon, who was stopped in 2010 for speeding nearly 30 mph over the limit in Grand Traverse County. He then admitted to the police that he had a state marijuana card and had smoked pot five to six hours before the driving incident. A blood test also revealed the drug in his system.

"The MMMA shields registered patients from prosecution for the internal possession of marijuana," the court says in its ruling. "While we need not set exact parameters of when a person is 'under the influence,' we conclude that it contemplates something more than having any amount of marijuana in one's system and requires some effect on the person," the court states in a document cited by MLive (via Huffington Post).

The court said the state does not have a system that specifies an amount of marijuana in a user's system that impairs driving judgement enough to be considered "under the influence and suggested that legislators institute a state marijuana limit comparable to a blood alcohol level for drunk drivers.

"It goes almost without saying that the (medical marijuana law) is an imperfect statute, the interpretation of which has repeatedly required this Court's intervention," the justices write. "Indeed, this case could have been easily resolved if the (law) had provided a definition of 'under the influence.'

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