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smoking marijuana impair ability to drive

Does smoking marijuana impair your ability to drive?

The Michigan Impaired Driving Safety Commission was created and given the task of conducting research in order to recommend a scientifically supported threshold of 9-THC. This threshold, much like the .08 blood alcohol level threshold, would indicate to Michigan police whether or not a cannabis user is considered impaired while driving.

Similar studies have been done nationwide with varying results, yet most were unable to come to an absolute threshold that indicates impairment. A 2017 study involving driving simulators and instrumented vehicles revealed that cannabis-impaired subjects typically drive slower, keep greater following distances, and take fewer risks while driving than when driving sober (Compton, 2017). It was believed during this study that this behavior was due to drivers attempting to overcompensate for the subjective effects of using cannabis. In comparison, a 2013 report found an estimated 26% increase in crash risk when the driver had used cannabis (Elvik, 2013); in 2012 a study concluded ingesting cannabis increased the risk of a crash by a factor of 1 to 3 (Schulze et al., 2012); and in 2017 the National Academies of Sciences concluded that there was no substantial evidence of a statistical association between cannabis use and increased risk of a vehicle crash but that there was an increased risk of about 22%-36%.

A percentage of added risk is not enough to determine a specific threshold of THC in the system that would render a driver impaired. This threshold has been difficult to pin down due to how 9-THC is processed through the body. While THC in one’s system goes through a rapid elimination process once ingested the effects on the central nervous system are often delayed. This creates a window of time where the user may not feel the full effect of ingesting cannabis yet the levels of THC in their system are already starting to lower. A test in 2005 showed that 20 minutes after smoking cannabis the user’s 9-THC blood levels were significantly lower than when tested right after smoking (Papafotiou et al., 2005).  

 

Conclusion 

The Safety Commission concluded that there is no scientifically supported threshold of THC that would directly indicate a driver is impaired. Therefore, the Commission recommends the State of Michigan to utilize roadside sobriety test(s) to determine whether a driver is impaired by cannabis instead of blood tests.

 

If you are facing a criminal charge for driving under the influence of marijuana call Michigan Cannabis Lawyers at 517-512-8364.  

 

Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulations Extends Deadline for Provisioning Centers Temporarily Operating While Their Application is Pending

May 30, 2018

The department of Licensing And Regulatory Affairs (LARA) issued new emergency rules through the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulations (BMMR), that will help ensure medical marihuana patients will continue to have safe access to their medicine.  The previous emergency rules would have required all currently operating medical marihuana facilities to close and cease operations if they had not received a state license by June 15 2018.  This has been a concern for many patients and caregivers across the state as the BMMR and the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board (MMLB)  have yet to approve any state licenses.  It certainly seemed that without new emergency rules or some other intervention,  medical marihuana patients and caregivers that rely on provisioning centers would be left without safe access to their much needed medicine.   Luckily, Governor Snyder signed the new emergency rules which amends Rule 19 and now extends the deadline for licensure approval to September 15th.

Rule 19 now allows for those provisioning centers that were currently operating and had sent in MMFLA applications to the BMMR by February 15th to remain operating temporarily until either they are denied a license or September 15th of 2018.  There is still some concern regarding temporary operation, as some board members have made statements about the legality of those who have previously operated without a license, and LARA in the press release announcing the new deadline for temporary operation stated, “Ultimately, licensure decisions will be made by the members of the MMLB, who may choose to consider unlicensed activity as part of the licensing criteria when deliberating on the overall application. Until a license is received from the state, the operation of a proposed medical marihuana facility should be considered a business risk by the operator”.

While the new emergency rules are good news for patients and those currently operating, it does little to speed up the licensing process and there is still no guarantee that any licenses will be issued by September 15th.  Even if some licenses are issued, will there be enough licenses issued by the MMLB to cover patients and caregivers in each of the 63 municipalities that have opted into allowing provisioning centers under the MMFLA?  It appears that LARA is working hard to accommodate patients by extending the deadline but isn’t taking the necessary steps to speed up the application process.  If you have any questions involving the application process under the MMFLA or any recent announcements by the BMMR please call the Michigan Cannabis Lawyers at the Covert Law Firm at 517-512-8364.