On May 21, 2013 the Michigan Supreme Court decided the case of People v. Koon. The Court held in this case that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MCL §333.26421 et. seq.) is inconsistent with and thus supersedes the Motor Vehicle Code at MCL §257.625(8) in situations where registered medical marijuana patient / cardholder drives a motor vehicle with the presence of marijuana in his / her system.
 
From a practical perspective this means that if a registered medical marijuana patient / cardholder is charged with a violation of “drugged driving” contrary to MCL §257.625(8), he / she is not per se guilty just because of the presence of THC in his / her system. Pursuant to the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, the Prosecution must prove that the registered medical marijuana patient / cardholder (defendant) was operative a motor vehicle “under the influence” of marijuana.
 
An individual who does not have the protections of a registered medical marijuana patient / cardholder under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act is still subject to the zero tolerance policy of the Motor Vehicle Code in MCL §257.625(8). In other words, individuals who do not have a medical marijuana registry card may not have any signs of THC in his / her system while operating a motor vehicle according to Michigan law.
 
It should also be noted that in its written opinion, the Michigan Supreme Court appears to be asking the Michigan Legislature to adopt a “legal limit” within the text of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, like that applicable to alcohol in the Motor Vehicle Code to specifically establish when a registered patient is outside of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act’s protections. Hills at Law, P.C. will keep you up to date on any future developments in this area of the law. Please be specifically aware that individuals convicted of drug crimes and “drugged driving” crimes will face sanctions against their driving privileges through the Secretary of State in addition to any criminal sanctions handed down by the Court.
 
If you, a family member or a friend are facing drug or “drugged driving” charges, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.
 
Michael D. Hills

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