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Michigan Supreme Court rules

driving with any presence of marijuana protected by the MMMA

Rodney Lee Koon was charged in the 86th District Court with operating a motor vehicle with any amount of a schedule 1 controlled substance in his body. When he was stopped for speeding, he informed the officer that he was a medical marijuana patient and admitted that he had smoked marijuana five to six hours earlier.

After a blood test revealed that Koon had THC in his bloodstream when operating the vehicle, the court concluded that his registration under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, MCL 333.26421 et seq., protected him from prosecution under MCL 257.625(8) unless the prosecution could prove that the defendant was actually impaired by the presence of marijuana in his body.

The ruling was affirmed by the Grand Traverse Circuit Court, concluding that the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act superseded the zero-tolerance provision of MCL 257.625(8). The prosecution appealed by leave granted, and the Court of Appeals reversed on grounds that the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act prohibits registered patients from operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana and reasoning that per MCL 257.625(8) a person is under the influence of marijuana if he or she has any amount of marijuana in his or her body.

Koon sought leave to appeal. In an unanimous opinion per curiam, the Michigan Supreme Court, in lieu of granting leave to appeal and without oral argument held:

The MMMA does not define what it means to be “under the influence,” but the phrase clearly contemplates something more than having any amount of marijuana in one’s system and requires some effect on the person. Thus, the MMMA’s protections extend to a registered patient who internally possesses marijuana while operating a vehicle unless the patient is under the influence of marijuana.

If you or someone you know is facing charges as a result of Medical Marijuana prescribed to you as a Medical Marijuana patient under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, contact Komorn Law and ensure your rights are protected.

Michael Komorn is recognized as a leading expert on the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. He is the President of theMichigan Medical Marijuana Association (MMMA), a nonprofit patient advocacy group with over 26,000 members, which advocates for medical marijuana patients, and caregiver rights. Michael is also the host of Planet Green Trees Radio, a marijuana reform based show, which is broadcast every Thursday night 8-10 pm EST. Follow Komorn on Twitter.

Read more: http://courts.mi.gov/Courts/MichiganSupremeCourt/Clerks/Recent%20Opinions/12-13-Term-Opinions/145259%20Opinion.pdf

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