Can I drive if I’m a medical marijuana patient?

by: Jason Osbourn

05/02/2016 09:45 AM EST

In Michigan, it is a crime for a person to operate a motor vehicle with any amount of a schedule 1 controlled substance, including marijuana, in their body under MCL 257.625(8), a crime known commonly as OWI. Even trace amounts of marijuana in a person’s blood will support a conviction under this statute.

The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA), however, immunizes MMMA cardholders from arrest, prosecution, and penalty for the medical use of marijuana conducted within the scope of the MMMA. “Medical use” includes the internal possession of marijuana relating to the administration of marijuana to treat or alleviate the patient’s debilitating medical condition. Critically, section 7 of the MMMA defines the scope of the MMMA and excludes certain activity from immunity even if the patient is otherwise engaged in the legitimate medical use of marijuana. One such exception negates immunity for patients who operate a motor vehicle, aircraft, or motorboat while under the influence of marijuana.

Basically, for a MMMA patient to be convicted of OWI, the prosecution must show that marijuana in a MMMA patient’s system influenced their abilities as they operated the vehicle whereas a non-MMMA cardholder may be convicted of OWI for even trace amounts of marijuana in their system regardless of that substance’s influence on them.

If you are a MMMA patient charged with OWI or have any other legal questions, please contact Newburg Law at 517-505-2323 for assistance.