All Carded Up, and Nowhere to Go
The State of Michigan just can’t figure out what to do about marijuana. They don’t want to legalize it since that would set off a howl from the solid citizens that don’t want to smoke it and don’t want their kids to do so either. Besides, it’s a steady source of income as the smoker’s parade through the District Courts leaving a trail of fine money behind. Those fines are more a pot smoking tax than a criminal penalty. The prosecution of pot smokers not only keeps the arrest numbers up in the War on Drugs, it also provides employment for BAYNET, all of the other “nets”, drug counselors, probation officers, defense attorneys [they’ve made a lot of my car payments over the years] and all of the other people that get to, as the Mafia says, “wet their beaks” in the process. The stoners don’t seem to mind since they continue to drive their cars with roaches in the ashtrays and baggies in their jeans pockets. It’s almost as if they want to get caught. They don’t of course; they’re just so thick in the noggin that they won’t take the most elementary precautions not to get caught. Like having a license plate that matches the car they’re driving and tail lights that actually light up. When the cops stop them for some pretext or another, they always ask “is there anything in your car you shouldn’t have?” and the stoners always blurt out something like “There’s some weed under the seat.” Maybe pot does destroy brain cells. They take all of the sport out of catching them.
Well, I’m afraid there’s more bad news for those who like a joint or two. No, there isn’t a Twinky shortage. This comes from the Michigan Court of Appeals, which is no friend of the pot fraternity. But first some background, for the 81% of Clare County residents who finished high school. The 19% who didn’t already know this…..
Michigan passed the Medical Marijuana Law. That’s the little bit of legal fiction that says you can have marijuana in your possession for “medical” use. Its passage caused a wave of painful illness, curable only with marijuana, to sweep through Michigan not seen since the Black Death depopulated Europe in the 14th Century. This also created a prestigious new class of people; Those that Have Their Card. As in “he’s so kewl, he Has His Card.” If you could afford a couple of hundred bucks, doctors were actually competing to proscribe medical marijuana for your “intractable pain.” It was, for the select few, stoner heaven. But then the straight citizens who suspected medical marijuana was a scam but were willing to pretend it wasn’t, got POed as head shops, grow shops, and pot docs started throwing it in their faces. This got the Courts got involved. Judges and Prosecutors run for office. Citizens vote. Stoners, not so much.
Now it seems that the Medical Marijuana Law says you can have pot for “medical” uses. It specifically says driving your car after having smoked isn’t a medical use. The Drunk Driving law MCL 257.625, a behemoth of a law taking in a lot more than alcohol and a real money maker for the State, says that if you have any amount of a Schedule 1 drug in your system [pot is a Schedule 1] that you’re guilty of driving under the influence of drugs. Same penalty as drunk driving. Oh oh.
In a brand new case called People v. Koon, the Court of Appeals says that even if you’ve got your Pot Card, the MMA doesn’t supersede the Drunk Driving law. So you can legally possess pot and smoke it. You just can’t have “any amount” of it in your system and drive a car. Zero tolerance means zero tolerance.
What’s a law abiding smoker to do? You paid your money and you got a prescription and card for your intractable pain. Now you find out that you can’t drive! Since THC, the active ingredient in pot is stored in the fat cells of your body; it isn’t like alcohol that disappears in a few hours. Oh no. THC hangs around. And around. And around.
Well, it is a dilemma, isn’t it? You can smoke, or you can drive.
If you do both, it’s another car payment for me and a trip to the drunk tank of the Clare County jail for you. I know, I know, it’s so much more fun medicating that intractable pain in a bar than sitting home watching reruns of the Brady Bunch, but which to choose? Well dude, I guess you’ll have to do what they told us to do in the Army when someone had a complaint. Write you Congressman. Good luck with that.