There are many unanswered questions surrounding medical marijuana. Legal cannabis has never before been factored into a legal question. Up till now it was pot = crime, regardless of whatever else is going on. Michigan is deciding, “Can a driver use his status as a medical marijuana patient as a defense to a charge of impaired driving?” Michigan law has zero tolerance for drivers who show evidence of certain drugs, but more than 130,000 people have state-issued cards allowing them to use marijuana to alleviate pain and other symptoms of chronic illness.
So, a driver is charged because he (1) admits smoking cannabis six hours ago, and (2) has some type of metabolite (my presumption) in his system. Is that enough evidence to convict someone of drunk / impaired driving? Two trial courts dismissed the charge, saying prosecutors had to show the driver was impaired. That’s seems right to me.
Appeals Courts review and judge the work of trial courts. The Michigan Appeals Court said the medical marijuana law “does not permit all types of medical use of marijuana under all circumstances.” “Driving is a particularly dangerous activity,” the judges said in the ruling. “Schedule 1 substances are considered particularly inimical to a drivers’ ability to remain in maximally safe control of their vehicles. The danger of failing to do so affects not only the driver, but anyone else in the vicinity.” Yes, in the abstract, but here there is no evidence of impairment. That must count for something. I think these folks don’t like or understand pot.
A statewide association of Michigan prosecutors had called for the result delivered by the appeals court. There always will be some conduct that is considered legal, the group said, but only before someone gets behind the wheel of a car. “Even texting, conduct that is otherwise legal and might even, at times, involve the communication of protected content under the First Amendment, is prohibited while operating a motor vehicle” in Michigan, prosecutors said in a court filing.
Here’s our challenge, Greenies. Anyone who is a regular user of herb has cannabis metabolites in their blood regularly. Anyone who is an irregular user of herb has cannabis metabolites in their blood irregularly. It would be bad for the presence of cannabis metabolites in the bloodstream to be a crime. Ever been taken to an emergency room? First thing is they take blood. Now, if that blood was reportable / reported to the government . . . I’m not paranoid, I’m just saying. It would be a bad thing for a larger number of people than anyone imagines. Your shared thoughts on this subject will help the discussion along. Learn more in Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
image: google images Michigan state flag]
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