Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Driving - by Daniel L. Price, Esquire
For the last couple months I addressed issues relating to your home…your castle. It’s time to switch gears and write about medical marijuana and issues with driving.
So finally, after years of suffering grand-mal seizures and not having the ability to hold a job due to your illness, you find medical marijuana and the relief that this natural plant provides. You are finally able to work and earn a living while dealing with your illness, so you are no longer a burden on your loved ones, or society, only because you ingest marijuana every day. You ingest at night so you can sleep. You get up the next morning to go to work and work all day as the pain increases to the point where all you can think about is the relief your medicine provides.
On the way home that evening, a fool crashes into your car, or you failed to use your turn signal, or you were speeding, or perhaps you had a seizure and it caused you to drive “funny”. The officer approaches and you show him/her your driver’s license and medical marijuana card as you are required under the law. The officer immediately orders you out of the vehicle and performs any number of roadside sobriety tests and asks you if you will submit to a blood test. Well, if you refuse you lose your license, and you feel comfortable because you have not ingested your meds since the night before, so you consent to the test. You are arrested and the prosecutor charges you with driving while intoxicated/impaired by alcohol or drugs, or a combination of these. Your blood test comes back with 4.9 nano-grams of THC. You may be guilty of driving while impaired by drugs.
But how can this be? You did not ingest your meds all day. It’s been almost 24 hours since you last obtained relief from this natural plant. Also, there have been numerous studies on the effects of driving while high on marijuana. One such study by A. Smiley called: Marijuana: On-Road and Driving-Simulator Studies, concluded that the “…Effects on driving behavior are present up to an hour after smoking but do not continue for extended periods”. Moreover, educated and trained toxicologists cannot provide evidence for a specific level of THC in the blood which might impair a person’s ability to drive. Even more, according to Dr. Robert Townsend of Denali Healthcare, “there is no artificial limit that demonstrates evidence of impairment, period.”
Still, government actors continue in their attempts to violate your right to self-determination by persecuting, uh, prosecuting those persons who have THC in their system. And, although currently there is no set “limit” for THC in a medical marijuana patient, the Michigan Legislature is considering a proposal to make it illegal to drive while having 5 nano-grams of THC in your blood. This, even though Dr. Townsend emphatically asserts that, “a patient who takes their meds every day, as directed, would not be impaired or intoxicated with 5 nano-grams of THC in their blood”.
So what does this mean for the medical marijuana patient?
It means that more and more, authorities will be prosecuting those people who have medical marijuana cards for impaired driving. It is the next big “cash cow” for indirect taxation, especially since drunk driving has been on a steady decline for some 30 years.
At this point you may be asking yourself, what can I do? Well, here are some things you can do to directly impact the laws that are making you a criminal simply because you find relief and have a desire to drive to work and support yourself.
• Register to vote! This is very important. When you register to vote, you can vote for or against any elected official based upon their position on the use of medical marijuana, including the judge(s) in your district.
Your name is also on the roll for jury duty when you are a registered voter. And to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, you can be a part of the last hope for freedom against tyrannical government.
• Ingest your medicine in your vehicle, the smell is enough to provide suspicion that you drove while ingesting, even if you did not.
• Drive and ingest your medicine at the same time.
• Ingest and drive even within a few hours, it is better to be safe than sorry.
• Answer a police officer’s questions regarding when you last ingested. Politely assert your 5th Amendment right under the US Constitution.
It is very important to always keep in mind that if you do not assert your rights, they will eventually be violated! Next month I’ll address another legal issue of medical marihuana. Until then, keep rolling on.
Disclaimer: This is an informational article only. It is not to provide individual legal advice. If you need legal services, feel free to contact me at liberty13legaldefense.com, or any attorney of your choosing.