In 2018, Michigan voters passed the “Michigan Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act,” (the Act) which provided for the legal recreational use of marijuana. The Act, which will go into effect in 2020, allows adults ages 21 and over to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for personal use, and to grow up to 12 cannabis plants at home. Of course, driving under the influence of marijuana is still considered a crime under the Operating While Under the Influence (OWI) statute.
As people began to use marijuana more freely, lawmakers believe that there will be an increased risk of people getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. Indeed, law enforcement agencies nationwide have cited statistics indicating that the legalization of marijuana increases the rate of marijuana DUI accidents. However, these statistics are flawed because marijuana remains in a person’s system for days or weeks after use, and there is no way to say that marijuana intoxication contributed to an accident just because it was found in a driver’s system. Regardless, the legalization of marijuana in Michigan has placed law enforcement on high alert for motorists driving under the influence of marijuana.
Most roadside tests do not test for marijuana, and taking a driver suspected of marijuana intoxication down to the station for a blood test is a lengthy process that implicates the driver’s constitutional rights. Thus, according to a recent article, Michigan police are considering a new way to quickly test for marijuana intoxication. State police have implemented the Oral Fluid Roadside Analysis Pilot Program in five counties. Authorities claim that the oral test can detect the presence of amphetamines, benzodiazepines, cocaine, methamphetamines, opiates, and THC, the active psychoactive compound in marijuana.