Marijuana seems to be everywhere these days, including Michigan. However, despite changes legalizing its use, both for medical and recreational purposes, people may have some questions about how the laws apply, specifically for medical marijuana users. What if a person who uses medical marijuana is involved in a traffic accident? Can a medical marijuana user be sued for causing a car crash?
At Jay Trucks, our Grand Rapids car crash lawyers are ready to answer your legal questions after a car crash involving medical marijuana that caused you harm. Learn more about how we may be able to help by scheduling your free case review today.
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THC and Michigan’s Zero Tolerance
Regardless of whether a driver uses marijuana for medicinal purposes or simply for recreation, operating a vehicle while under the influence is against the law. This is no different than for alcohol. If a driver is impaired by marijuana and caught weaving in and out of lanes, he or she can be pulled over by police for reckless driving.
How Will Police Know if a Driver is Drunk or High?
While there is still no foolproof method for roadside testing, Michigan police units are trained to test for possible marijuana impairment in various ways, including by checking:
- Observation of the driver’s overall physical condition (bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, etc.)
- Driver’s ability to perform standardized or non-standardized field tests
- Observations or witness statements about how the person was driving before being pulled over
- The smell of marijuana in the vehicle or possession of marijuana that exceeds the legal limit of 2.5 ounces
- Statements taken from the driver
- Statements or admissions provided by other occupants in the car
How Michigan Laws Affect Medical Marijuana Users
Medical marijuana users are more likely to have elevated levels of THC in their system, especially if they use it every day. On the other hand, for a person who uses marijuana for recreational purposes once in a blue moon, the THC levels will likely dissipate much faster. What this means is that an occasional recreational user who smoked a joint a few hours earlier may no longer have any effect. Whereas, a medical marijuana user who has not smoked a joint for a day or more could still have elevated THC levels in his or her system.
The fact is that there is no “one and done” measure for how long THC appears in your blood system. It really depends on a lot of factors:
- What form of marijuana you used (edibles versus smoking it, for example)
- How potent the medical or recreational marijuana is
- How often the person smokes, eats or uses marijuana
- The user’s individual response to marijuana, including tolerance and/or metabolism
- Whether other substances, such as alcohol, were also used
Are Medical Marijuana Users Exempt From Being Prosecuted for Driving Under the Influence?
There is a law, “The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act” (MMMA), that was implemented in 2008 and is still in effect, to keep registered and qualifying medical marijuana users from being prosecuted. However, the MMMA does not protect a medical marijuana user who is deemed to be driving under the influence.
Is it Legal to Use Medical Marijuana and Drive?
If you mean, can a medical marijuana user drive while under the influence of marijuana, the answer is no. However, in general, a medical marijuana user can drive but again, only if he or she is not driving while under the influence.
Can Medical Marijuana Users Be Sued for Causing a Car Crash?
The answer to that question is yes, however, the injured victim must prove the medical marijuana user who caused the crash was also negligent. Just because a medical marijuana user has THC in his or her system does not automatically make them negligent. That said, there is no “free pass” protecting medical marijuana users from being sued if they were negligent and that negligence led to a crash that caused harm to another person.
Need Answers After a Crash? Call Jay Trucks for Legal Help You Can Trust
If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in a car crash caused by a medical marijuana user, you may wonder if you have a valid claim. If your injuries meet the state’s injury threshold, you may be eligible to sue for excess damages. However, the burden of proof is on the injured victim for establishing the other party’s negligence.
The good news is, if you have a valid claim, Jay Trucks is prepared to help. We have a strong team of legal professionals, proven results and decades of experience. Find out about your potential legal options by scheduling your free initial consultation with one of our qualified attorneys. There is no obligation after this meeting and no pressure to hire our firm. If we do represent you, there is nothing to pay up front or throughout the handling of your case. We only get paid if we win compensation for you.
FREE Case Review. 989-244-0356