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Legal View Of Marijuana Case ( Driving )


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Judge made right decision in pot case
December 2, 2010
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Delta County District Court Judge Glenn Pearson made the right call in a recent case involving a medical marijuana patient.

Brenda Ann Chase, 46, of Gwinn, was found guilty of driving while under the influence of marijuana in a bench trial before Pearson earlier this week. Chase was arrested Jan. 13 after a Michigan State Police trooper stopped her speeding vehicle on M-35. He smelled marijuana and noticed Chase's eyes were bloodshot. Chase admitted she had smoke a joint a couple hours before.

Chase's defense during her trial was she had applied for a medical marijuana card on Nov. 3. 2009, prior to her arrest. In Michigan, a medical marijuana card allows patients who suffer from certain medical conditions to use and possess marijuana legally.

Pearson made the right call by finding Chase guilty. He held true to Michigan law which states a driver cannot operate a vehicle with any amount of marijuana in their body. Blood tests presented during the trial showed Chase had THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) in her blood stream.

Use of marijuana to help treat medical conditions is fine. In fact, it's the law of the land. The voters of the state of Michigan approved a proposal to make the use of marijuana for medical conditions legal for those issued a medical marijuana card.

This does not give medical marijuana patients the right to get behind the wheel while they are impaired. Not only is it foolish and dangerous - it's illegal. The same can be said about anyone under the influence of any prescription drug. If it impairs your ability to drive, it is illegal for you to get behind the wheel. In fact, the labels of many prescription medications warn users not to drive or operate heavy machinery.

It is is the same thing as driving under the influence of alcohol. There is no difference. Anyone under the influence of a substance that impairs their ability should not and cannot legally drive.

Impaired drivers not only pose a risk to themselves, but other drivers. Too many people are killed each year in accidents that involve drunk or drugged drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drugs were reported in nearly 4,000 drivers who were killed in 2009, or 18 percent of the nearly 22,000 drivers killed last year.

Bottom line - if you have a medical marijuana card, feel free to use it for medical purposes. Just stay off the road when you do. You do not have the right to put others in harm's way


Fact missing in medical marijuana case
December 7, 2010
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EDITOR:

Your editorial "Judge Made Right Decision in Pot Case" is missing one important fact that both the judge and lawyers apparently did not know.

Michigan's law covering impaired driving based on a drug test for marijuana was changed by a Michigan Supreme Court decision of June 8, 2010, as the result of an appeal of a 2005 case.

The decision requires evidence of actual impaired driving, not just a drug test. The ruling is on line at http://www.courts.michigan.gov/supremecourt/Clerk/10-09/138031/138031-Opinion.pdf

The decision applies equally to all cases involving driving and marijuana, not just those of legal medicinal marijuana users.

In light of the Supreme Court decision it is likely that if this case is appealed it will be reversed.

Richard Lake

Escanaba

LEGAL VIEW OF MARIJUANA CASE

EDITOR:

This letter is in response to Mr. Richard Lake's letter published Dec. 7, 2010, about the recent marijuana case involving a client of ours. Our office would like to clear up some misunderstanding that we are concerned members of the public may have.

Our client was pulled over by the Michigan State Police for speeding and, after a brief investigation, arrested for operating with the presence of a controlled substance. Blood tests preformed on her showed the presence of tetrahydrocannabinol ( THC ), the psychoactive active ingredient in marijuana and 11-carboxy-THC, a marijuana metabolite. At the time, she had a right to use marijuana under the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act ( MMMC ).

The decision that Mr. Lake points to is a case called People v. Feezel in which a defendant was convicted of several crimes including operating with a schedule1 controlled substance in his body. This conviction was based on is having 1-carboxy-THC and not the active THC in his body while operating a motor vehicle.

The Michigan Supreme Court held that 11-carboxy-THC is not a schedule 1 because it has no effect on an individual and is not THC.

In the opinion written by Justice Cavanagh, the majority makes it clear that this case does not "imply the legalization of marijuana for limited medical purpose... or that marijuana itself should no longer be on the list of schedule 1 controlled substances." Feezel pg. 30 fn. 16.

The difference between Feezel and our client's case is that she had not only 11-carboxy-THC present in her system, but also the active THC. The court and attorneys had reviewed Feezel, and our office made the argument that THC should no longer be a schedule 1 narcotic based on the MMMA, which would indicate that marijuana does have medicinal purposes. We also argued that language in the MMMA shows that the drafters intended to allow medical marijuana patients operate motor vehicles with active THC in their bodies as long as they are not under the influence. Judge Pearson ruled that THC is still classified as a schedule 1 narcotic by the Michigan Board of Pharmacy, who the legislature gave authority to classify narcotics. For this reason, an individual operating a motor vehicle with any amount of THC is committing a crime regardless of whether that individual has a valid medical marijuana card.

Undoubtedly, this issue will be the subject of future litigation as this is a new topic in the law as the Michigan Supreme Court did not address the legality of valid medical marijuana patients operating motor vehicles with active THC present in their bodies.

John M. A. Bergman

Escanaba

The Medicinal Cannabis Drivers Prayer .

Dear Power that watches over us
Grant us a steady hand , mind , and watchful eye
That none ever be injured or hurt as we travel
We are medical patients with medicinal need
We have our herbal comfort many do not understand
Help us assess ourselves each time we desire to get behind the wheel
That we will follow all common sense law
That never will injury or death result from our actions

Dear power that gave us life
We promise to protect your loving gift .
To never drive not understanding the effects of our state of health and medicinal items
We pledge if and when we do drive to do so with loving concern
To always conduct ourselves so as to protect from distress or anxiety those whom share our road
We pray for the healing power of acceptance , cooperation and brotherhood in our Nation
We pray for equal access to education , medical care and work by abillity within our communities

We are patients



Please visit the Source to comment or for more information .

http://www.dailypress.net/page/blogs.list/

http://www.dailypress.net/page/content.detail/id/527416/Fact-missing-in-medical-marijuana-case.html?nav=5005
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6-8 hours? try 30 days.

 

the judge in delta county says ANY THC in system is against MI law. you have to clean out to be "legal" in delta county just like you would a pee in the cup test, 30days give or take.

 

I've been to every court case for this lady over the past year. There was no field sobriety test given, as soon as he found out she was a card holder and had stuff on her they arrested for duid.

 

took her to the hospital and drew blood, they changed all the meds she was on. she has chrons among a few other heath issues and takes many strong meds, they took her off her phentanol patch and cut out all other meds and the TURNKEYS called the hospital and had her a new script wrote of some stuff they had on hand. they also did somthing to help her "detox" from her meds. all this made her very very ill and she had to be put in hospital.

 

I wonder why they did the detox stuff? cause she had marijuana on her? what about her med card? the last time i sat a month in jail the guys were handing out methadone and other pills like candy all perscribed and issued by turn keys, but cause she had a "drug" charge they took her off all her doctor perscribed meds!

 

The last time i talked with brenda she was before this court hearing and she said she knew she wasn't gunna win but they are repaling and the judge that granted her back all of her $2k forfiture money returned so were hoping that he will be more understandable, if he says guilty too they she is ready to take it all they way she said. the only reason she is doing this is for every card holder in MI, she says other wise she could have just agreed to the plea and been done with everything and had her license back by now. and in the UP we dont have buses to get around so you need you license.

 

anyways about the jail, the last time i talked to her she said that the ACLU has talked to her and is intrested in helping sue delta county jail for almost killing her ( wouldn't be the frist time in delta that happen)

 

 

any other questions on the case let me know, we are planning a big rally for her sometime in january i'll have to get the date and time. were 3 hours from the bridge kinda sucks but would love to have ya's. there will be sandwichs and coffee/hotcoco.

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6-8 hours? try 30 days.

 

the judge in delta county says ANY THC in system is against MI law. you have to clean out to be "legal" in delta county just like you would a pee in the cup test, 30days give or take.

 

I've been to every court case for this lady over the past year. There was no field sobriety test given, as soon as he found out she was a card holder and had stuff on her they arrested for duid.

 

took her to the hospital and drew blood, they changed all the meds she was on. she has chrons among a few other heath issues and takes many strong meds, they took her off her phentanol patch and cut out all other meds and the TURNKEYS called the hospital and had her a new script wrote of some stuff they had on hand. they also did something to help her "detox" from her meds. all this made her very very ill and she had to be put in hospital.

 

I wonder why they did the detox stuff? cause she had marijuana on her? what about her med card? the last time i sat a month in jail the guys were handing out methadone and other pills like candy all perscribed and issued by turn keys, but cause she had a "drug" charge they took her off all her doctor perscribed meds!

 

The last time i talked with Brenda she was before this court hearing and she said she knew she wasn't gunna win but they are repaling and the judge that granted her back all of her $2k forfeiture money returned so were hoping that he will be more understandable, if he says guilty too they she is ready to take it all they way she said. the only reason she is doing this is for every card holder in MI, she says other wise she could have just agreed to the plea and been done with everything and had her license back by now. and in the UP we don't have buses to get around so you need you license.

 

anyways about the jail, the last time i talked to her she said that the ACLU has talked to her and is interested in helping sue delta county jail for almost killing her ( wouldn't be the first time in delta that happen)

 

 

any other questions on the case let me know, we are planning a big rally for her sometime in January I'll have to get the date and time. were 3 hours from the bridge kinda sucks but would love to have ya's. there will be sandwiches and coffee/hot coco.

 

Thanks for the update we know how she feels this is and has been why we are still inn Court so as to help others on the way Leo will find a way to bust us for anything they can no one is safe as you and i know

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umm.... srry im having a lil xmas thing today so i dont have time to find the link right now.... a few months back the mcoa overturned a veh manslaughter case.... the appellate courts have clearly stated having it your system doesn't constitute dui. they have stated you must appear to be under the influence, not just have some waste product in your system

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umm.... srry im having a lil xmas thing today so i dont have time to find the link right now.... a few months back the mcoa overturned a veh manslaughter case.... the appellate courts have clearly stated having it your system doesn't constitute dui. they have stated you must appear to be under the influence, not just have some waste product in your system

Wouldn't that be very easy to say "He or she looks like they are under the influence"?

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Wouldn't that be very easy to say "He or she looks like they are under the influence"?

yes it would be very easy.... they call it a field test....in the case im speaking of the first officer on scene did field sobriety, the driver passed.... later investigator asked for a test, he failed. If you cant pass that dont drive, but just having the stuff in your system is NOT a dui in Michigan. they have to show you were impaired.

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"The Michigan Supreme Court Tuesday ruled that it is not illegal to drive while having marijuana metabolites in the body, reversing a 2006 decision by a more conservative version of the court. Marijuana metabolites are not a controlled substance under state law, and their mere presence thus cannot be the basis of a conviction under the state's drugged driving law, the court held. "

 

http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2010/jun/11/drugged_driving_michigan_supreme

 

a simple goggle will find a lot more info on this. As i said according to the courts having in your system is not the same as being under the influence.

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I belive they did mention that case but it ended up being judge pearson says that any active THC in system is proof of imparment

 

she had 10 nanograms/ml (not sure if i said that right) and even if it would have been 1 it would have been all the judge needed.

 

the lawyer relized the judge is being hard headed about it so thats why they took the guilty and plan on appeling and are hopping the circuit court judge will find her not guilty.

 

another guy i know got picked up for duid charge. cop pulled him over for "going over the line" (came up with reason to pull over) and asked about marijuana. the guy showed his card and BOOM cuffs went on, duid.

 

In delta county MI all you have to do is show your card and be behind the wheel and that is enough to get charged with DUID.

 

judge pearson said in court that ANY MI card holder should just bring there driver license down and turn in cause you have to pick one or the other

 

another lady i know in the county over had a cop come to her door not long after the cops started there duid stuff and the cop said look i know you are a card holder and i see you drive everyday i just wanted to come by and warn you that if i see you driving again i will put you in jail. and then asked to see her room! The lady worked on a farm and now had to quit her job due to no way to get there.

 

 

i know of 3 card holders that got duid charges now, the 3rd was a caretaker on his way back from ice fishing and didn't have trailer lights, cop came up to window and asked about marijuana smell and asked when the last time he smoked. guy wasn't thinking and said 3 hours ago (caregiver, not card holder) so he got charged with duid, he went and got his card right after (think he was in the process when it happen)

 

 

it sounds like best thing to do if pulled over is not show your card or meds

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quote,

 

"As expected Judge Pearson in Delta County ruled against Brenda Chase and found her guilty. In Pearson's closing remarks he stated that operating a vehicle with THC in one's system means they are in violation of 257.625 (DUID). He also told the court that having THC in one's system does not require proof of impairment to be found guilty."

 

 

 

 

 

 

This came from a U.P. cannabis site, a friend posted that was in the court room with me at the time.

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"The Michigan Supreme Court Tuesday ruled that it is not illegal to drive while having marijuana metabolites in the body, reversing a 2006 decision by a more conservative version of the court. Marijuana metabolites are not a controlled substance under state law, and their mere presence thus cannot be the basis of a conviction under the state's drugged driving law, the court held. "

 

http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2010/jun/11/drugged_driving_michigan_supreme

 

a simple goggle will find a lot more info on this. As i said according to the courts having in your system is not the same as being under the influence.

 

 

she had 10 ng/ml of active thc, not the metabloites (delta-11)

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People vs Koonz

 

The circuit court judge ruled that the state must prove impairment. If the attorney had done his research, he would have found this. Lazy attorneys need to be disbarred.

 

http://michiganmedicalmarijuana.org/topic/25823-people-v-koon-thc-metabolite-case/

 

 

on page 6 of the court stuff on the link you posted, it says there was 10ng/ml of active thc and that that constitutes impairment? not sure if i was reading it right but that is the same about that came back in brendas case

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