OWPD – Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

The Debate Over Driving Limits and Marijuana Use


image3It is common knowledge that most states have established a 0.08% blood alcohol level as the maximum legal limit for drivers over the age of 21. However, with the recent legalization of the use of recreational marijuana in some states and also the legalization of medical marijuana, there are concerns about operating under the influence laws for drivers who smoke or consume marijuana.  The police and prosecutors have been overzealous in these prosecutions and experienced defense lawyers are stepping up to keep innocent drivers from being wrongfully prosecuted.

Driving Limits – Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

Even though Michigan has allowed medical marijuana for several years, it does not have a driving limit set for being able to legally operate a motor vehicle after having consumed marijuana. This has been the impetus for many defense motions in matters where people are being prosecuted for driving under the influence of marijuana when they possess valid Medical Marijuana cards. The lawyers at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. have filed several such motions successfully.

The State of Washington, for example, has set its driving limit at 5 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood. This limit has become the subject of serious debate. Supporters say it keeps roads safe and prevents accidents. Critics say the limit is to low and does not take into consideration the different effects on the casual user vs. the chronic user (even for medical purposes).

What is a Reasonable Standard?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, users of marijuana experience the greatest amount of impairment during the first three hours of having smoked it. To determine recent use, active THC is tested in whole blood. Reasonable limits have been difficult to set because of lack of research on a standard impairment level, marijuana effects different people differently, and active THC stays in a chronic or medical user’s system longer, even if the person has quit smoking.

Lawmakers expect defense attorneys to challenge the laws regarding Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana. The attorney’s with LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. accept the challenge!

Other States and Marijuana Driving Limits

Although opponents believe that 5 ng/mL is unreasonably low, it is one of the highest limits in the states that have enacted limits. Nevada (a medical marijuana state) has a limit of 2 ng/mL Ohio also has a limit of 2 ng/mL Montana (a medical marijuana state) has a limit of 5 ng/mL. Pennsylvania’s limit is also 5 ng/mL.

Michigan’s legislature needs to make a decision as to the driving limits after having smoked or consumed marijuana. It should consider medical evidence and not rely on inadequate studies and emotion.

Michigan Marijuana Criminal Defense Attorneys

LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. has handled thousands of cases involving marijuana. Our attorneys have represented people charged with marijuana offenses at the Federal and State level and both misdemeanors and felonies. LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. also has substantial experience in handling matters related to Michigan’s Medical Marijuana law, and alleged violations of it, and handling cases where there is an allegation of driving under the influence of marijuana.

The attorneys at LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. are well-respected specialists in defending people charged with criminal offenses. Please call LEWIS & DICKSTEIN, P.L.L.C. at (248) 263-6800 with any questions you may have or complete a Request for Information Form and one of our attorneys will promptly contact you.