Michigan Marijuana Laws: Still Not Ok To Drive Stoned!
Much has been made about the more recent changes to Michigan’s marijuana laws. With the state now accepting licensing for adult-use marijuana facilities (as of November 1st), the use of legal marijuana in Michigan is becoming more of a reality.
However, the Michigan State Police have been dealing with a wide variety of issues since voters in the state voted for legalization in 2018. While the state is taking a laissez-faire approach to minor complaints, such as odor, one of the issues they are NOT taking lightly is anyone operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.
The state police have been very clear that the new law has been making traffic enforcement more difficult. There are obviously clear-cut laws about driving while high, the issue arises in the fact that a simple blood test might not be telling the entire story.
THC (the intoxicating element in marijuana), stays in the bloodstream longer than alcohol.
While some alcohol tests have proven to be an inaccurate measure of intoxication, the blood tests for marijuana are even more off base.
In order to assist Michigan law enforcement officers, a program called ARIDE was created. ARIDE is an acronym that stands for Advanced Roadside Impairment Driving Enforcement. While this sounds like a solution, there are several problems with the ARIDE criteria:
Improper test administration: Field sobriety tests, breath tests and blood tests should be handled as instructed. Failure to do so renders the results as meaningless.
Officer ego: Often, a driver may have THC in their system, however, is not impaired. The officer can easily enter false information to make a case stronger, so as to not appear wrong.
Unproven, or “junk” science: There are several studies that indicate the testing criteria for ARIDE is dubious at best, with some showing that the information obtained is flat-out false.
So what this all boils down to is confusion and misinformation, never a good thing in a legal scenario.
What does it mean for you? If you have been charged with DWI because of marijuana, you need an experienced Michigan criminal defense attorney that understands these issues.
Failure to hire the right attorney can be perilous to your case.
The consequences of driving while stoned are the same as drunk driving. Don’t leave your future up to junk science and a Michigan criminal defense attorney that is behind the times.