New commission would establish THC level for impaired driving

by: Matt Newburg

03/24/2016 05:05 PM EST

A measure is pending before the Michigan House of Representations that would create a new commission to research and recommend the per se level of THC — the active ingredient in marijuana — that could lead to an impaired driving charge.

Marijuana is currently listed as a Schedule 1 drug. But unlike the components in other Schedule 1 drugs, the THC in marijuana can be detected in saliva, blood, hair and urine, long after the effect on a person’s driving ability has passed. Right now, a person is guilty of drugged driving with any amount of a Schedule 1 controlled substance, such as marijuana, in their system.

House Bill 5024, sponsored by Rep. Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Township), would create the Impaired Driving Safety Commission Act. 

Commission members would include the Michigan State Police director or a designee, a medical doctor, a forensic toxicologist, a medical marijuana patient, and university professors. Members would be required to have significant experience in studying marijuana, substance abuse, or impaired driving.

   The commission’s primary duties would include:

  • Identify grant sources to assist in defraying the cost of researching the effects of marijuana on driving. 
  • Fund a research program at a public university to determine the proper threshold for a per se THC content for impaired driving. 
  • Collect and analyze information about marijuana-induced impaired driving and the THC-content impairment thresholds. 
  • Review and analyze research and state laws relating to the THC-content thresholds that provide evidence for per se impaired driving. 
  • File a final report with the governor and Legislature by July 1, 2017, which will include research results, recommendations for the appropriate threshold of the THC content for per se impaired driving, and suggestions for further legislative action. 

HB 5024 was considered by the House Judiciary Committee at a March 1 meeting. The committee voted to adopt a substitute version of the bill, and reported it out with a favorable recommendation.