Michigan Court of Appeals Ruling Regarding Medical Marijuana and Driving Reversed by State Supreme Court

On Tuesday May 21, the state Supreme Court reversed a ruling made by the Michigan Court of Appeals that motorists who are users of medical marijuana may not legally drive with any amount of marijuana in their systems.

The case began when a medical marijuana user, Rodney Koon, was stopped in Grand Traverse County for driving 83 mph in a 55 mph zone according to a news article at Mlive.com. Koon admitted to police that he had drank a beer, and also told officers that he was a registered medical marijuana patient and had used about five to six hours prior to the stop.

Essentially, district and circuit court judges determined that jurors would not be informed that any presence of marijuana in Koon’s system would be grounds for a conviction of driving under the influence. The MMMA (medical marijuana law) and Michigan’s Vehicle Code conflict in this area; it was ruled by a circuit judge that the state’s zero-tolerance law in regards to marijuana was superseded by the MMMA. However, the Michigan Court of Appeals reversed the lower courts’ decisions.

The Appeals Court held that there are many medications which are accompanied by warnings that users should not drive while using the medications. However, the Supreme Court found that while the MMMA is an imperfect statute, it does offer protection for motorists who are found to have marijuana in their systems (and who are registered medical marijuana patients) as long as those motorists are not found to be under the influence.

It looks like in this situation the final result turned out to be advantageous for Rodney Koon. As experienced Michigan criminal appeals attorneys, we know that appealing a sentence or conviction is a complex process; it takes special skill to win an appeal, and no lawyer can guarantee this result – particularly those who are not experienced in and familiar with the appeals process.


If you have been wrongly convicted or feel your sentence is unfair, consult with a capable Michigan criminal appeals lawyer who will review your case to determine if you may have grounds to appeal.