The holding: Those who have a valid MMMA registry card cannot be prosecuted for having some THC in their system under MCL 257.625(8) – the zero-tolerance statute - because the MMMA provisions control; but they can be prosecuted under the MMMA if it can be shown that they were “under the influence”.
In Koon, the defendant was charged in the 86th District Court with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of THC. When stopped by the police, Koon told the officer that he had a medical marijuana registry card and admitted that he had smoked marijuana five to six hours earlier. THC was found in his bloodstream.
The Grand Traverse Circuit Court affirmed that ruling. The judge concluded that the MMMA superseded the zero-tolerance provision of MCL 257.625(8). The prosecution appealed by leave granted. The Court of Appeals reversed. The panel noted that registered medical marijuana patients are prohibited under the MMMA from operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, under the rationale under MCL 257.625(8) a person is under the influence of marijuana if he or she has any amount of marijuana in his or her body. 296 Mich App 223 (2012). Defendant filed an application for leave to appeal in the supreme court.
The Supreme Court’s opinion was unanimous. In a per curiam opinion, in lieu of granting leave to appeal and without oral argument, that court held as follows:
A qualifying registered patient is not subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty for the medical use of marijuana in accordance with the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (“MMMA”) MCL 333.26421 et. seq, so long as the patient in not in possession of usable marijuana in excess of 2.5 ounces. By definition under the MMMA, “medical use” includes internal possession.
Before the Supremes reversed the COA, a prosecutor could rely on MCL 257.625(8) to convict someone for having “any amount” of marijuana in their system, EVEN IF they had their MMMA card and were acting within the “rules” of the MMMA and were not “under the influence” of the pot at the time they were driving.
You may read People v Koons here: Download People v Koon S Ct
The Medical Marijuana Act may be read here: Download MMMA