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Letter to the editor: Just say 'no' to medical marijuana in community

September 08, 2010 - Dear editor,

Federal regulations supersede state and local regulations. Marijuana is not changed into "medical" marijuana in any physical form, but that is what is being called. It is still just marijuana that gets people stoned.

Scope of State act; limitations. 333.26427

(b) This act shall not permit any person to do any of the following:

(1) Undertake any task under the influence of marihuana, when doing so would constitute negligence or professional malpractice" Can also be an assignment, job, chore, responsibility, duty, mission, commission, charge, undertaking, driving, brief, and function; just to name a few.

Marijuana and Driving: The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act prohibits smoking marijuana while driving a car or operating any type of motorized equipment. The Act is silent as to non-cardholder who legally smokes and then drives at a later time.

In a decision, People v. Derror (2006), the Michigan Supreme Court upheld a 'drugged driving' conviction where the driver admitted to smoking one marijuana cigarette shortly before driving. The Derror decision was troubling, as it created strict liability standard: Any driver who injured or caused the death of someone else could be criminally negligent if a blood test showed "any amount" of marijuana (THC) in their body.

In July 2010, the same Court, albeit with a new Supreme Court Justice, ruled in People v. Feezel, that 11-carboxy-THC, the substance that lingers in your body for up to 30 days, was/is not a Schedule I controlled substance, and thus, a person cannot be prosecuted for drugged driving just because there is THC in their body.

The Court recognized the medical marihuana act, and noted that those who lawfully used medical marijuana would be prohibited from driving for up to four weeks after using marihuana -- even though they were no longer impaired. Scope of the act right here. Will consumers of "weed" continue to be negligent?

So, if your driving ability is "substantially impaired" by marijuana, you can be arrested and charged with 'driving under the influence of drugs' or drugged driving (OWID, DUID) which has the exact same penalties as drunk driving (OWI) including license suspensions, 6 points on your license, a criminal record, the $2,000 "bad driver" tax, etcetera.

In summary, this takes us back to the "initial intent & spirit" of the act; only consumers with "severe & debilitating illnesses qualify to ingest marijuana for a medicinal purpose. Not all cancers, etc., are severe and thus do not qualify. Keep tup the raids, law enforcement.

-John W. Hart

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