With pot sales now legal in Michigan, officials waste no time in reigniting 'Reefer Madness' 

click to enlarge MICHIGAN STATE POLICE
  • Michigan State Police

The very same day legal marijuana sales started in Michigan, the state descended into chaos — or at least that's what Michigan State Police and the conservative news media seem to want you to believe.

"It became legal to purchase pot in Michigan on Sunday. By 9 a.m., Michigan State Police had made their first arrest for driving high, after a man crashed into a State Police vehicle in Oakland County," The Detroit News tweeted with a link to its coverage of the incident.

There are a few problems with The Detroit News' version of events, however. As the article notes, the accident happened at 9 a.m., but marijuana sales didn't start until 10 a.m. So connecting the two events makes no sense.

Furthermore, the accident happened in Springfield Township — some 50 miles away from Ann Arbor, where the state's first licensed recreational marijuana shops are located.

State Police Lt. Sarah Krebs told the paper that the driver, a 51-year-old man, "admitted to smoking marijuana (before) the incident." The word "(before)" in parenthesis is doing a lot of work here. How "before" are we talking about? While driving? That morning? The night before?

Additionally, police said the driver had been "driving too fast for road conditions." Marijuana, however, tends to make people drive more slowly. A 2017 report to Congress from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found stoned drivers typically "drive slower, follow other cars at greater distances, and take fewer risks than when sober," while drunk drivers "typically drive faster, follow at closer distances, and take greater risks."

Police say the driver was not hurt, and consented to a blood draw. But the issue is further complicated by the fact that THC levels cannot accurately be linked to driver impairment due to different tolerance in individuals. For this reason, a state-appointed commission concluded that the state should not set THC limits for drivers. Plus, the role marijuana plays in accidents is often unclear anyway because it can be detected in the blood for days or even weeks after use.

"This is a reminder that on the day legal marijuana can be purchased, do not smoke and drive," MSP wrote in another tweet. "Just like alcohol, use a ride service, designated driver or stay home."

To be clear, we agree that you should enjoy marijuana responsibly, and not drive while impaired. But you should also beware of any modern-day attempts to reignite Reefer Madness.
It's a new era for marijuana in Michigan. Sign up for our weekly weed newsletter, delivered every Tuesday at 4:20 p.m.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Detroit Metro Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Metro Times Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

January 26, 2022

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit

© 2022 Detroit Metro Times - Contact Us

Website powered by Foundation