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Will Medical Marijuana Users be Effectively Barred From Driving?

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Nichole J. Derks
Foster Swift Municipal Law News
April 2011

Attorney General Bill Schuette has chimed in to support a county prosecutor’s decision to prosecute a medical marijuana user for driving with the presence of marijuana in the user’s system. The case arose when Grand Traverse County charged Mr. Koon, a medical marijuana user, with driving with the presence of drugs in his system. The prosecutor relied on the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code’s rule that prohibits driving with any amount of a Schedule 1 substance – which includes marijuana –in the driver’s system. The district court and circuit court agreed with the driver that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (the Act) is an affirmative defense to the charges, ruling that the Act supersedes the Motor Vehicle Code.

But the Grand Traverse County prosecutor has asked the Michigan Court of Appeals to step in. Michigan Attorney General Schuette has filed a brief with the Court of Appeals supporting the prosecutor’s appeal. The Attorney General argues that the Act does not trump the zero-tolerance standard in the Motor Vehicle Code. The case is Court of Appeals Docket #301443.

Have questions about Michigan’s Medical Marijuana Act? Please contact any member of Foster Swift’s Municipal Team.