BY RICK PLUTA
Capital Bureau Chief, Michigan Public Radio Network
LANSING -- The question of whether Michigan's medical marijuana law allows people who smoke medicinal pot to get behind the wheel of a car or truck is headed for the state Court of Appeals.
Rodney Koon is a registered medical marijuana cardholder who acknowledged that he smoked pot about five hours before he was stopped, but says he was not stoned at the time.
That was in February of last year. He was cited for driving under the influence according to a Michigan law that says a driver is assumed to be impaired if there is any amount of THC in their system.
The question is whether the voter-approved medical marijuana law changes that standard, and whether prosecutors have to prove in each case that a medical marijuana user was actually an impaired driver.
Attorney General Bill Schuette opposed the medical marijuana law. He said it's poorly written.
"It's filled with loopholes and problems and this is a major one," said John Sellek, spokesman for the attorney general.
"I don't think anyone out there would agree that you should be on a schedule one drug and be able to operate a motor vehicle," he said, "but unfortunately what the law has put into place is in complete conflict with other parts of the law that protect people from those who are driving under the influence of drugs."
"There's nothing poorly written about it," said Steven Thompson, a medical marijuana advocate who heads the Michigan chapter of NORML - the National Organization for Rational Marijuana Laws.
"It's a very simplified law the way that it's stated, and I've been pointing out to these people all along that, technically, yes, marijuana is legal in the state of Michigan," he said.
The argument could ultimately wind up with the Michigan Supreme Court, which is just now starting to see cases asking the justices to settle questions surrounding the state's medical marijuana act.
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