The city of Kalamazoo has proposed a Marijuana charter amendment. This amendment would make possession or use of 1 ounce or less of marijuana by anybody over the age of 21 the lowest priority for law enforcement. The amendment goes to the ballots in Novemeber because the changes are proposed through a initiatory petion. The makes it state law that it must go before a vote.
Of course Attorney General Bill Schuette had plenty to say about the proposal. He was quoted saying “It is simply unfathomable that we would ask police officers to look the other way wen a crime is being commited…..the amendment is illegal and will send the signal that random marijuana use is acceptable.”
It should be interesting to see how this plays out since the AG’s office claims that a charter amendment can’t restrain police or law enforcement from enacting state criminal law. Either way add this to the chaos/confusion surrounding the Michigan Marijuana laws.
Last week there was a meeting held to address the “so called” poorly written Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. Bill Schuette among many others, met to crackdown on both driving laws pertaining to the MMMA as well as those who supposedly take advantage of the marijuana certification process.
Schuette claims that theMMMA “has been hijacked by pot profiteers who threaten public safety on the roads and in our communities.” However, there is currently a lot of confusion regarding what constitutes drugged driving. The Michigan Motor Vehicle Codes MCL 257.625(8) states that driving with any marijuana in your system is illegal. The MMMA states that driving while “under the influence of marijuana” is prohibited. The real question here is which law applies and when? Is it any amount, or is the standard to use whether the driver was impaired?
Well the MMMA appears to resolve this conflict. The MMA states “All other acts and parts of acts inconsistent with this act do not apply to the medical use of marihuana as provided for by this act.” MCL 333.26427. This provision seems to arguably, and rather clearly state that MMMA supersedes all other inconsistent laws including the “any amount standard” when in the context of a medical marihuana patient.
Going by Bill Schuette’s comments (and the Amicus brief he has filed in the case mentioned below), I would assume he wants to keep the zero tolerance policy for medical marihuana patients. Considering remnants of THC will remain in the body for as long as a month, you could be perfectly sober for 2-3 weeks and still be breaking the Michigan Motor Vehicle Code given this point of view.
In People v. Koon, this very situation occurred. The Circuit Court for the County of Grand Traverse has already affirmed the 86th district court ruling that the prosecution cannot use the standard jury instruction for a per se violation of having any amount of controlled substance in the body while driving when a medical marihuana patient’s driving is at issue. This is because the court found that the MMMA supersedes that statute and states that qualified patients are proscribed from operating a motor vehicle ‘while under the influence of marijuana.’ Therefore the court ruled that evidence of impairment is a necessary requirement and must be proved. However, this decision has been appealed and is currently pending, while Attorney Bill Schuette has written a brief in support of the prosecution’s position.
If the drugged driving situation isn’t bad enough, just wait to hear what Bill wants to propose to the Michigan Penal Code. Let’s just say he wants to make a lot of things felonies. Schuette claims that current penalties are soft and the entire Michigan Medical Marijuana Certification process is flawed. In order to correct these flaws we must crackdown with even greater penalties. Here is the breakdown of his proposed reforms.
Falsify a debilitating medical condition for patients seeking to use medical marijuana – Felony
Knowingly submit false information on application for a patient or caregiver – Felony
Knowingly alter a patient or caregiver card – Felony
Knowingly possess another card or allow a person to use another’s card – Felony
Prohibit Felons from being caregivers
Failure to report a lost or stolen card within 7 days – Misdemeanor
In these most recent proposals of laws to “supplement” the medical marijuana act, you can see it attempts to make felons out of a lot of people and most importantly it is to scare doctors, by making felons out of them, or putting them through all kinds of legal hassles. I plan on keeping everyone updated on the latest Michigan Marijuana news, so stay tuned.