June 19, 2019

What Michigan Drivers Need to Know About Marijuana Legalization

There has been a lot of thought since November of 2018, when the use of marijuana was legalized in Michigan, about how the police and the courts will treat a driver who may be under the influence of marijuana or have the drug in his system. Eventually, these cases will need input from an auto accident lawyer if there is a situation where a person has lost control of a vehicle or has had an accident with another vehicle due to
marijuana use.

What is the Law?

In Michigan, a person has to be 21 years of age or older to legally use marijuana. This includes medical use as well as recreational use. Since the law also allows for the social use of marijuana in special events, and designated marijuana smoking lounges in retail stores and other establishments, this can affect driving habits if you just stop at a store or attend a party.

Operating a Vehicle

The law is clear that a driver cannot operate a vehicle under the influence of marijuana. However, this can become a difficult call for a police official if a person is stopped for signs of drug induced driving. These observations can include weaving in and out of a lane, wandering from one lane to another, stopping too quickly or slowly, or failing to observe a sign or signal.

If this sounds like DUI or Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol, it is. The Michigan State Police will treat this infraction like any other deemed to be a danger to the driver or other drivers.

How Is Marijuana Different?

The difficult aspect of marijuana is the fact that a police field test, or breath test, will not reveal the drug amount in the person’s system. If the person is taken to a hospital or medical facility, then a blood test can be administered, and the amount of the drug in the system can be determined. In Michigan, the “Driver’s Consent Clause” allows for this test.

In many cases, the driver will not be taken for the test. Instead, the courts will rely on the observations of the police and circumstantial information to make an arrest and move to prosecution. As a result, the services of an auto accident attorney may be needed to ensure protection for the driver.

What About Passengers?

Like the use of alcohol, the driver cannot smoke or consume marijuana while driving. In addition, there cannot be anyone riding in the vehicle who is actively consuming the drug. Although the driver is allowed to carry up to 2.5 grams of marijuana in the car, it is recommended that any amount be kept in the trunk to avoid any misunderstanding if the police stop the vehicle. It is best to contact a legal counsel like an auto accident attorney at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. to obtain an updated guide for transporting marijuana since these regulations are always evolving.

What Are the Legal Limits?

So far, in Michigan, the authorities have not established any legal limit for the amount of marijuana in a person’s system. A driver should be aware of the effects the use of the drug will have on him or her, and how long these effects will last. Since much of the litigation will involve subjective evaluation, consultation of an auto accident attorney is highly recommended.

Final Note

The law offices of the Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. has up to date information of all the latest changes in the laws in Michigan that concern driving and marijuana. Call (1-866 MICH-LAW) 1-866-642-4529 them for a free consultation. You will not be charged a fee unless we make a recovery.

Ms. Barry is studying Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. She has won multiple awards both for her persuasive and creative writing and has written extensively on the topics of medical malpractice law, personal and birth injury law, product liability law. When she’s not researching and writing about these topics, she edits a literary magazine and tutors students at Penn’s writing center.

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