Medical marijuana grown in Grand Rapids
GRAND RAPIDS – The medical marijuana crowd, already upset that state Attorney General Bill Schuette won’t fight a federal subpoena for medical marijuana records, isn’t going to like his latest legal action.

An opponent of medical marijuana, Schuette is backing the Grand Traverse County prosecutor’s effort to convict a medical marijuana user of impaired driving. Schuette said the law provides limited protection to legal users, but does not provide protection to those driving with marijuana in their systems.

“Michigan law makes clear that driving with drugs in your system is illegal,” Schuette said. “Allowing anyone to do so puts the lives of our families and friends unnecessarily in jeopardy.”

Schuette filed a brief in support of Prosecutor Alan Schneider who charged Rodney Koon with driving under the influence. A county circuit judge upheld a district judge’s ruling that jury instructions at Koon’s trial would not say that any presence of marijuana in Koon’s system was sufficient for conviction.

The prosecutor also disputed judges’ rulings that, under the medical marijuana law, the prosecution must prove the driver was under the influence of marijuana. State law says any amount of marijuana in a driver’s system is illegal.

Koon was stopped for speeding on Feb. 3, 2010. After police found a pipe in his pocket, he showed police his state certificate, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported.

The Record-Eagle said Koon said he smoked marijuana six hours before he was stopped. He has several ailments, including herniated discs, a pinched nerve in his neck and rheumatoid arthritis, the newspaper said.

The county prosecutor is appealing the case to the state Court of Appeals.

Schuette was a vocal opponent of medical marijuana, which had support of 63 percent of voters in 2008.

He has taken shots from medical-marijuana supporters for his stance in a case in which the federal government is seeking state medical marijuana records as part of an investigation the Lansing area. Schuette said he would turn over the records with a judge’s order.

It prompted Traverse City attorney Jesse Williams, representing Michigan Association of Compassion Clubs and unnamed patients, to take up the fight. He said the records are supposed to be confidential under the medical marijuana law.

He said in court papers that Schuette “has a clear and unambiguous conflict of interest” based on his opposition to medical marijuana.

That case is pending before a U.S. District Court magistrate judge.

E-mail John Agar: [email protected]

Article written by John Agar, Grand Rapid Press.