Since Michigan legalized marijuana in 2018, the conversation around impaired driving has gotten more complicated. New laws made it legal for people 21 and older to grow, use, and own marijuana. As dispensaries popped up across the state, questions started piling up.
Can you drive with marijuana in the car? Is using it while driving illegal, and if so, what about driving afterward?
Even though marijuana is legal, there are still many ways you can end up in legal trouble with this drug. Here’s a basic rundown of what’s legal and illegal about having marijuana in your car in Michigan. However, if you’re charged with a marijuana-related crime, it’s always best to consult a defense attorney.
Driving High or While Smoking Marijuana
While legalization is here to stay, Michigan law clearly states that you cannot drive and consume marijuana. Furthermore, you cannot operate a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana.
This seems cut and dry. If you are caught driving while using or under the influence of marijuana, you face serious criminal charges for drugged driving. If you cause an accident, you are also at risk of being named in a personal injury lawsuit.
How the Police Catch Impaired Drivers
With a possible drugged driving offense in mind, the question of impaired driving isn’t as straightforward as it seems.
After all, how do police determine whether or not a driver is high? Michigan has a zero-tolerance policy for operating under the influence of marijuana, but simply having marijuana in your system does not mean you are impaired.
The law is applied differently to those who use marijuana for medical purposes.
The law looks at alcohol and marijuana as if they affect the body similarly, even though they don’t. Michigan sets the BAC limit at 0.08 because that is the level at which most people are too intoxicated to drive. There is no such level for marijuana.
Wait, it gets more complicated. The concentration of THC in your blood is one way to determine whether or not you are impaired. But, THC remains in the blood longer than you stay under the influence of marijuana.
Police generally determine impairment based on their observations. They may look for a driver who is driving erratically or far below the speed limit. They may also conduct field sobriety tests. If anything suggests impairment, they will request a chemical test.
Driving With Marijuana in Your Vehicle
While you cannot smoke in your car, you can have it in your car. Specifically, you can have up to two-and-a-half ounces of marijuana in your car, but no more than 15 grams may be in the form of an edible or another concentrate.
Stores cannot sell you more than two-and-a-half ounces at a time.
Some people wonder if they can have more than two-and-a-half ounces if they do not purchase more than two-and-a-half ounces in one location. However, two-and-a-half ounces is the most you can have, so consider spreading out your dispensary trips.
It’s generally recommended that you keep it in a concealed location that you cannot easily access. This makes it harder for police officers to claim that they have reason to believe you were smoking while driving.
Additionally, you cannot have marijuana in your car if someone else is smoking it. If you have a passenger smoking marijuana in your car, you risk criminal charges.
Transportation of Marijuana Across State Lines
Your phone may be ringing off the hook from friends and family in neighboring states, but it is illegal to transport marijuana across state lines. People often visit Michigan to bring marijuana back home, but doing so is unlawful.
If you leave Michigan with legally purchased marijuana and get caught, you face state or federal charges. It’s even riskier if you try to fly with legally purchased marijuana, as you are then in violation of federal law.
Taking marijuana across state lines may even be considered drug trafficking. This is true even if you bring marijuana into another state where it is legal.
Call Davis Law Group for Help
If you’re facing marijuana charges, you mustn’t take the matter lightly because it is largely a legal substance now. It’s time to talk to a Michigan criminal defense lawyer to protect your rights and your future.
At the Davis Law Group, we will review the details and aggressively pursue the best possible outcome. This could be a charge reduction, dismissal, or proving you did nothing wrong. Get in touch online or call 313-818-3238 for a free, confidential consultation.