The hot-button issue of driving under the influence of marijuana – especially medical marijuana – came to the forefront in Michigan last week after the state’s Court of Appeals ruled that legal pot patients are subject to conviction for driving under the influence of any amount of medicinal cannabis.
The court’s ruling was based on the case of legal medical marijuana patient Rodney Lee Koon, convicted for driving under the influence of pot – even though he had last medicated some five or six hours prior to being pulled over by the police.
The appellate court decided Section 625 of the Michigan Vehicle Code, which forbids driving by any person with “any amount” of a controlled substance as defined by the state’s public health code (including pot) in his or her body, supersedes the voter-approved 2008 Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.
However, marijuana metabolites can remain in the human body (blood, urine and/or hair) long after cannabis is ingested, thus subjecting drivers to potential arrest and eventual conviction even if they are completely sober and haven’t used pot in several weeks.
One solution could be removing cannabis from the list of Schedule 1 drugs by fully legalizing it statewide. Enter the Committee for a Safer Michigan, currently gathering signatures for The 2012 Michigan Ballot Initiative to End Marijuana Prohibition. Over 300,000 valid signatures are required to place the measure on the ballot come November. The Committee has turned in 20,000 signatures thus far as the July 1 deadline looms ever closer.