Michigan Supreme Court holds that Michigan Medical Marihuana Act supersedes the zero-tolerance provision of the Michigan Vehicle Code
In People v. Koon, the Michigan Supreme Court held that the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (“MMMA”), MCL 333.26421, allows a registered patient to drive when he has marihuana in his system but is not otherwise “under the influence” of marihuana, because the MMMA supersedes the portion of the Michigan Vehicle Code that prohibits a person from driving with any amount of a schedule 1 controlled substance in his system, MCL 257.625(8). In this case, an officer stopped the defendant for speeding and administered a blood test after the defendant informed the officer that he was a registered MMMA patient and had smoked marihuana about five hours before the stop. The test revealed THC, the active component of marihuana, in the defendant’s blood, and he was prosecuted under MCL 257.625(8), because marihuana is still a schedule 1 controlled substance despite the MMMA.
Even though a patient is no longer protected from prosecution by the MMMA if he or she “drives under the influence of marihuana,” the Michigan Supreme Court concluded that driving under the influence “contemplates something more than having any amount of marihuana in one’s system” and therefore the defendant should be protected from prosecution if the marihuana was not affecting him while he was driving. The MMMA provides that all other laws that are inconsistent with the act no longer apply to the medical use of marihuana; and the Michigan Supreme Court concluded that MCL 257.625(8) was one of those laws. The Court suggested that the legislature develop a legal limit for blood concentration of THC to determine what “under the influence” means for the purposes of the MMMA.