Study: Michigan medical marijuana users are driving while high

Local officials are beginning to decide if they want medical marijuana businesses in their communities before the state starts giving out licenses next year. Wochit

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More than half of the medical marijuana users in Michigan have driven under the influence of the drug, creating a potential for car crashes, according to a new study from the University of Michigan.

The study, which surveyed 790 of the state’s medical marijuana patients, revealed that:

  • 56 percent reported driving within two hours of using marijuana.
  • 51 percent aid they drove while  a “little high.”
  • 21 percent reported driving while “very high.”

The findings were published Wednesday in the “Drug & Alcohol Dependence” journal. 

“When you are intoxicated with marijuana or you have marijuana actively in your system it can affect things like your coordination and your reaction time,” said the study’s lead author Erin Bonar, an assistant professor of psychiatry. “We know it can take several hours for its effects to wear off.”

She added: “There is a low perceived risk about driving after using marijuana, but we want people to know that they should ideally wait several hours to operate a vehicle after using cannabis, regardless of whether it is for medical use or not,” Bonar said. “The safest strategy is to not drive at all on the day you used marijuana.”

Erin Bonar , University of Michigan psychology professor and lead author of a new study on medical marijuana users.

Erin Bonar , University of Michigan psychology professor and lead author of a new study on medical marijuana users. (Photo: Daryl Marshke, UM Photography,D.Marshke)

About 270,000 people in Michigan have permission to use medical marijuana. Only California has more medical marijuana users, roughly 916,000, according to statistics.

Read more:

Too high to drive? Depends where you get pulled over

Legal marijuana in Mich.: What you need to know

Six mid-Michigan towns have banned weed businesses

And now that recreational use of marijuana has been approved by the state’s voters, the potential for high drivers and any dangers they may pose is greater. 

“We believe more research is needed to inform a larger public education effort that will help individuals understand the risks for themselves, and others, of driving while under the influence of cannabis,” Bonar said. “It is especially needed during this time of rapid policy change as many states are determining how to manage marijuana legalization. We also need clearer guidelines about marijuana dosing and side effects with an understanding of how individual differences in things like sex and body weight interact as well.” 

In its study, the U-M team surveyed Michigan adults who were seeking medical marijuana certification for chronic pain in 2014 and 2015. The researchers asked about respondents’ driving habits for the past six months.

Katie Price pleads ‘not guilty’ to drink-driving

Price has pleaded not guilty to drink-driving charge. (PA Images)

Katie Price has pleaded ‘not guilty’ to drink-driving. The former glamour model, 40, has denied crashing her pink Range Rover into a bush while under the influence of alcohol.

Appearing before Magistrates at Bromley Court on Monday January 7, Price entered a ‘not guilty’ plea to a charge of drink-driving whilst twice over the legal limit.

She was arrested in the early hours of October 10, after allegedly crashing her car into a bush in South London after attending her ex-boyfriend’s Kris Boyson’s birthday party.

The magistrates were told Price was ‘behind the wheel in charge of the vehicle’ but it is still unknown whether there were any passengers in the vehicle.

The court was told she was breathalysed and found to have 69 micrograms of alcohol in 100ml of breath, which is just under twice over the legal limit of 35mg per 100ml.

The judge, District Judge Nigel Dean, said the outcome of her not guilty plea could be: “the statutory defence, that there was no likelihood of driving while the level of alcohol exceeded the prescribed limit.”

The judge continued by stating that there is CCTV footage of the incident: “There’s CCTV from the block of flats that the gentleman lives in. He woke up and went to look out his window, he saw his car.

Price was caught smiling as she entered the court. (PA Images)

“He went down that day and inspected his car and found pink paint on his black car. He concluded an accident of some kind occurred. CCTV appeared to show a pink Range Rover in the vicinity of his car.

“The Crown are presumably going to say Miss Price was intending to drive. There’s one accident is there a second accident?”

Prosecutor Kate Seal replied: “Yes the vehicle is off the road. When police come across the vehicle it’s off the road.”

Price was denied anonymity of her address.

“I think the public and members of the press are entitled to know the address of the defendant. All defendants are treated equally,” Judge Dean said.

Price will now face a trial. If found guilty, she will likely be fined and face a driving ban.

Her next appearance at Bexley Magistrates Court is on February 25.

Katie Price has had a turbulent few years to say the least. The mum-of-five narrowly avoided declaring bankruptcy at the end of 2018 and was supposedly in rehab for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) treatment at the time of her October 10 arrest.

Price also split from her third husband, Kieran Hayler, last year, and it was revealed that only one of her five children, Harvey Price, lives with her full-time.

Her children Junior and Princess live with her ex-husband Peter Andre, while Jett and Bunny live with her estranged husband Hayler.

Nurse, Correctional Institution officer arrested in separate DUI crashes

Two women were arrested in separate incidents Saturday morning on charges of driving under the influence.

Two women were arrested in separate incidents Saturday morning on charges of driving under the influence.

A Central Florida Healthcare nurse was arrested around 1:20 a.m. Saturday after crashing her car at U.S. 60 and Breen Road in Lake Wales.

According to a Polk County Sheriff’s Office release, 41-year-old Elizabeth Procick was arrested after failing a field sobriety test; she was charged with DUI and property damage.

Deputies responding to the crash said they found Procick climbing out of an opening in the windshield as her car was in the center median in the roadway. When they started talking to Procick, her speech was slow and she slurred her words, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Meanwhile, a few hours later in Lakeland, Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested a Sumter Correctional Institution officer for DUI.

According to reports, 30-year-old Katie Stewart was heading south on County Line Road when she crashed near Amberjack Boulevard around 3:43 a.m.

Accused of DUI, Mercedes driver flees scene of accident after victim wants to involve police

Photos: Jared Koh / Facebook

A man’s new year unfortunately began with a literal bang in the wee hours of yesterday morning. Facebook user Jared Koh shared how his car was knocked into from the rear by a Mercedes sedan just hours into 2019.

According to Koh, the collision caused him to slam a cab right in front of him, which resulted in an injured taxi passenger who was conveyed to hospital for treatment. What made it worse was how the Mercedes driver apparently panicked when Koh decided to get the cops involved and drove off. But not before getting confronted when the driver, who had three other passengers in the car with him, had to stop at a red light. Watch below as the Mercedes driver casually waved off the suggestion that he should stick around.

Koh accused the man of being a drunk driver, claiming that he smelled of alcohol and didn’t have a “steady gait” while walking. But at least the Mercedes driver did pass him his personal particulars, so Koh is free to lodge a police report. And he should, considering that he claims that he and his wife were injured from the crash.

Netizens pointed out that the Mercedes driver saved himself from bigger trouble if he waited around for the cops — now there’s no way for Koh or the police to prove that he was drunk when the accident happened. The matter now lies with the police, who’ve taken the Mercedes car’s license plate that was dropped and left behind at the scene.

Woman gets 7 years in prison for Christmas Eve 2017 fatal crash

Tiffany R Fisher

NEWARK – A Newark woman was sentenced to seven years in prison for causing the 2017 crash that killed a Roseville woman.

Tiffany R. Fisher, 32, of Newark, pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, one a first-degree felony and the other a second-degree felony; and two counts of operating under the influence, both first-degree misdemeanors. The state elected to sentence on the first-degree aggravated vehicular homicide charge.

Assistant Licking County Prosecutor Cliff Murphy said on Christmas Eve in 2017, Fisher drove left of center on U.S. 40, attempting to pass another vehicle when she collided with a 2003 Honda Odyssey. A passenger of the Honda, 73-year-old Delma Ross, died from injuries sustained in the crash.

More: Newark woman indicted for causing Christmas Eve fatal crash

Murphy said although Fisher told troopers she was driving about 65 mph, an Ohio Highway Patrol crash investigator estimated her speed was between 82-92 mph in a 55 mph zone.

The assistant prosecutor added Fisher was looking at her phone at the time of the crash and was driving under a suspended license. Later, he said he was particularly disturbed by information presented during a suppression hearing for the case – that Fisher had over 10 times the amount of the active component in THC that makes someone feel high and she had over 400 milligrams of marijuana in her system.

Fisher, he said, passed in a double yellow line while under three separate license suspensions. In one of the courts in which her license was suspended, Fisher allegedly told them she could do whatever she wanted.

“How many times does someone have to drive under suspension, how many time does the court have to tell someone they can’t drive under suspension…before they get the message?” Murphy asked aloud. “This is by far one of the most outrageous cases of death by auto. It’s not an accident.”

Addressing the court, Fisher said while she could say many things, words wouldn’t change the hurt from that day.

“I would like to sincerely apologize from the bottom of my heart how truly sorry I am for the loss of your loved one. When I got into my car on Dec. 24, 2017 Christmas Eve, I would have never imagined on that evening someone would lose their life and so many hearts would be broken on a day that’s supposed to be shared with loved ones…,” Fisher said. “I know my words can never take away the pain, hurt the Ross family has.”

She asked aloud how an accident could turn into such a tragedy and told the family she prays for them daily.

Standing in the courtroom for that hearing was something Terry Dawson said he never thought he’d be doing.

“We hope that Miss Fisher has cherished her time for the last year with her children and her family because she has changed ours forever,” he said, adding he hopes now she can spend the time getting herself together and reflecting on life. Dawson, Ross’ son-in-law, said he hoped the court wouldn’t see the crash as an accident because Fisher had risked not only her life, but the lives of others.

In sentencing Fisher, Judge Thomas Marcelain said he considered her history of drug or alcohol use and her history of driving under license suspension. He added he found the video of her incarceration disturbing and bizarre, that it demonstrated someone who is 10 times the legal limit for prohibited illegal drugs.

“Those were choices you made,” Marcelain told her simply, continuing to say the first thing she could as an example for her three children is having the ability to follow the law – something he said doesn’t seem that hard or shouldn’t be.

Fisher’s drivers license was suspended for life and she was given a 76 day jail time credit. Upon her release from prison, Fisher will be placed on a mandatory five-year post-release control.