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What is Legal Limit for Marijuana in Michigan?

Nov 22nd, 2018 OWI What is Legal Limit for Marijuana in Michigan?

Recreational marijuana will soon be legal in Michigan.  Known as proposal one, which passed by a large margin, marijuana won’t officially become “legal” until 10 days after the election is certified by the state board of Canvassers. This is expected to happen sometime in early December.

However, the enabling legislation has not yet been enacted, and because of this, the legalization of marijuana in Michigan raises a whole host of legal and criminal law issues.  For example, once the election result for proposal one is certified, will it then be legal to operate a motor vehicle with marijuana in your system?  What is the legal limit for marijuana?  If you operate below this legal limit, are you immune from prosecution for operating under the influence of marijuana?  Each of these questions is addressed below.

Is it now legal in Michigan to operate a motor vehicle with marijuana in your system?

No, proposal one does not suddenly make it lawful to drive with any amount of marijuana in your system. In fact, until the laws are changed, Michigan remains a zero-tolerance state. This means that if you’ve used marijuana and THC remains in your bloodstream in any detectable amount, you can be charged and possibly convicted of OWI or drugged driving.  For more information on this topic see the prior article entitled: The Interplay Between Legalized Marijuana and Intoxicated Driving.

What is the legal limit for marijuana in Michigan

As of the date of this article, there is no legal limit for THC and Michigan remains a zero-tolerance state.  It is assumed that this issue will be addressed by the state legislature, but until Michigan adopts a legal limit for THC drivers can be arrested, prosecuted and convicted of operating while intoxicated with any detectable amount of THC in their system.  Some states already have legal limits for THC.  For example, Colorado’s lawmakers have enacted a 5ng legal limit.  It is not clear if Michigan will also adopt a 5ng legal limit, or if Michigan will arbitrarily select some other legal limit for THC.  And we are a long way off from having a National legal limit for THC as we now do for alcohol.  In the meanwhile, states are free to adopt as their legal limit whatever number they see fit to adopt.  If Michigan’s lawmakers fail to act in this regard, then it will be up to the courts to determine how to handle this zero tolerance issue.

If I have less than the legal limit of THC in my system, then am I immune from prosecution?

No. Just because you are below whatever legal limit Michigan’s lawmakers adopt, this does not mean you can’t be prosecuted for operating while intoxicated. Although this is speculative (because Michigan’s laws providing for a legal limit have not yet been enacted), it is expected that the legal limit for THC will operate the same as does the legal limit for alcohol. In this regard, you can be arrested, charged, prosecuted and convicted for drunk driving even if you are below the legal limit of .08.  This is because the prosecutor can always try to show the judge or jury that at .05 your ability to operate a motor vehicle was nevertheless substantially lessened. Thus, if you are below the legal limit for marijuana, but still can’t drive safely, then you could be convicted of OWI.

The advent of recreational marijuana in Michigan is expected to result in more drivers being on the road after having consumed THC containing products.  This has the potential to endanger the public, and for the recreational marijuana user, also create a risk of prosecution for intoxicated driving.  Accordingly, like alcohol, drivers are advised to adopt their own “zero-tolerance” policy and to never get behind the wheel of a car after consuming any amount of marijuana. The risks are simply too great not to seek a sober designated driver.