Medical Marijuana and Driving

Do you think your medical marijuana card will get you off the hook for driving after using? Think again.

Even after the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act of 2008 was passed, debates over the law continue at state level. More than 130,000 people have medical marijuana cards due to a chronic illness in Michigan alone. Prior to April of this year, charges for driving after using medical marijuana could and were dismissed due to impairment not being able to be proven.

In April of 2012, The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled against a man for driving after having used marijuana 6 hours prior to getting behind the wheel. The man had originally been pulled over for going 30 mph over the speed limit. Business Week published an article quoting the three judges that agreed with the prosecution:

Driving is a particularly dangerous activity,” judges David Sawyer, Peter O’Connell and Amy Ronayne Krause wrote in the ruling. “Schedule 1 substances are considered particularly inimical to a drivers’ ability to remain in maximally safe control of their vehicles. The danger of failing to do so affects not only the driver, but anyone else in the vicinity.”

The million dollar question is: how long does cannabis or medical marijuana stay in your system? According to The University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Counseling, Assessment and Prevention, delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive chemical in marijuana, is stored in fat cells. THC has a half-life of 2-10 days, meaning it could take 2-10 days after smoking medical marijuana to leave your system.

Michigan law states that you are considered impaired if the chemical is in your system. Since we know that the chemical can be in your system for up to 10 days, you may be subject to conviction if charged. When facing charges related to medical marijuana use and driving, it is critical that you have a lawyer with a proven record of defense.

Call The David J. Kramer Law Firm, PLLC