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Michigan Medical Marijuana Laws Remain Unclear

Medical marijuana laws in Michigan have been hazy since the law was passed in 2008, and things aren’t looking much clearer.  Check out the details regarding medical marijuana, driving, and a possible statewide legalization.

Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Medical marijuana has helped a lot of people, but having a prescription for weed doesn’t give you a free reign to toke as you please.  Last week, the state decided that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act does not trump Michigan’s “zero tolerance” law for people driving under the influence of weed.

Being under the influence of weed is a grey area, considering there is no scientific way to determine how stoned a person is.  Alcohol levels can be determined by authorities, but the level of intoxication on marijuana can’t be pinpointed.  The active ingredient in marijuana, THC, is broken down in the body rapidly, but traces of the drug can remain in hair, urine, and blood samples for weeks after ingesting, while leaving no lasting effect on the user.

The fact that marijuana lingers in the body for weeks after words is complicated by Michigan’s “zero tolerance” law.  Under the policy, anything over 0.0 nanograms of THC found in a millileter of urine, makes the driver considered under the influence.  Other states, with out medical marijuana laws, have established their limit to .2 or .5 nanograms.  This sets a harsher standard than drinking laws, as Michigan has a drunk driving standard of .o8 blood alcohol content.

The Committee For A Safer Michigan has started a campaign to legalize weed for all Michigan residents, but the road to legalization isn’t an easy one.  The group has to collect  500,000 verified signatures to get the issue on the ballot and they have until July 1st to do so.  Even if the group is successful and marijuana is legalized, the issue will be far from over.  Federal law trumps state decisions and feds could prosecute under federal jurisdiction.




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