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Medical Marijuana Motorist Beats Case In Supreme Court, Gets Another For Drunken Driving


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GRAND RAPIDS, MI — The motorist whose medical marijuana case reached the state Supreme Court, resulting in protections for drivers legally using marijuana, has been arrested for drunken driving in Traverse City, police reports showed.


Rodney Koon’s challenge of his previous arrest for driving under the influence of marijuana led the Supreme Court to rule that medical marijuana users could drive as long as they weren’t intoxicated.


Otherwise, they would have violated the state’s zero-tolerance policy for any marijuana in a driver’s system.


Related: Supreme Court: Medical marijuana law offers protection to motorists


Police arrested Koon, 51, of Thompsonville, around 1 p.m. on May 31 for drunken driving.


Koon had a blood-alcohol level of 0.28 percent, more than three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent, according to a preliminary breath test.


Police reported that Koon showed obvious signs that he was intoxicated, and he failed sobriety tests. He had a strong odor of alcohol, was staggering and confused, police said.


At the scene, he took a preliminary breath test. But at the Grand Traverse County Jail, he refused to take a Breathalyzer test.


“He said, ‘No, not fair, I will not do it,’” an investigator wrote.


“I asked Koon if he felt that he had enough to drink that it would impair his driving. He said he did not feel he had that much to drink.”


Related:Michigan's medical marijuana law is no protection for drivers, appellate court says


Police obtained a search warrant to have Koon’s blood drawn for testing.


His arrest comes just days after Grand Traverse County Prosecutor Robert Cooney decided not to pursue the 2010 case against Koon for using marijuana before driving.


The state Supreme Court said the state’s medical marijuana law allows motorists to have marijuana in their systems as long as they not under the influence of the drug.


The court reversed a state Court of Appeals ruling that said motorists - including medical marijuana patients - cannot legally drive with any amount of marijuana in their systems.


In a May 28 statement, Cooney said: “Although there is at least some evidence that Mr. Koon was under the influence of marijuana, by itself, or in combination with the alcohol and/or other controlled and uncontrolled substances in his blood, it is unlikely that a jury would find sufficient evidence to convict given the totality of the circumstances.”


Koon's origanal case in 2010 started with a traffic stop for going 83 mph in a 55-mph zone in Grand Traverse County.


He told police he had used medical marijuana five or six hours before he was pulled over. He also told police he drank a beer.


Tests showed he had active THC in his system, records showed.

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