(Legally) Get High But Don't Drive

Michigan Marijuana Lawyer

On November 8, 2018, Michiganders made some sweeping changes in the Great Lakes state when they went out to the polling stations. Democrat Gretchen Whitmer was elected Governor, hourly minimum wage was increased from $10 in 2019 to $12 in 2022, and legislative district lines will be re-drawn! Also, an awesome number of women were elected to the US Senate, US House, Michigan Supreme Court, Michigan House of Representatives, and for the first time in Michigan history, all of the top Michigan offices of Governor, Secretary of State, and Attorney General!

Perhaps the most controversial and astonishing result of this election was the victory of Proposal 1, the legalization of marijuana, with a 56% - 44% margin! As such, Michigan became the first state in the Midwest to legalize marijuana. But before people start to search Google Maps for the nearest hydroponic shop or post pictures of themselves lighting up on Facebook or Instagram, they should know that it may be a few years until they can commercially grow or purchase marijuana. While smoking marijuana is now legal, residents likely won’t be able to legally buy recreational marijuana until early 2020.

It should be clarified however, that Michigan legalized medical marijuana in 2008, so the proposal that just passed governs, “the personal possession and use of marijuana by persons 21 years of age or older.” So, what does adult recreational use of marijuana entail? Well, The Detroit Free Press discusses the new Michigan recreational marijuana laws.

Michigan’s Recreational Marijuana Laws

  • Allow individuals age 21 and older to purchase, possess and use marijuana and marijuana-infused edibles and grow up to 12 marijuana plants for personal consumption.

  • Impose a 10-ounce limit for marijuana kept at residences and require that amounts over 2.5 ounces be secured in locked containers.

  • Create a state licensing system for marijuana businesses, including growers, processors, transporters and retailers.

  • Allow municipalities to ban or restrict marijuana businesses.

  • Permit commercial sales of marijuana and marijuana-infused edibles through state-licensed retailers, subject to a new 10-percent tax earmarked for schools, road and municipalities where marijuana businesses are located.

While many are celebrating this new legislation, Michigan becoming the 10th state to legalize recreational marijuana may have negative consequences. Marijuana legalization may result in increased crime, abuse of the substance, and even more car accidents. A study conducted by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) found that legal recreational marijuana sales in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, which have legalized recreational marijuana, were associated with a 6% increase in collision claims compared with 5 neighboring states that did not legalize the drug. According to the study, “marijuana dulls the perceptual and cognitive abilities required for safely operating a motor vehicle.” Also, “results from simulator studies suggest that consuming marijuana increases lane weaving behavior and interferes with drivers’ ability to maintain a constant headway.”

Michigan has already been seeing some marijuana car crashes. On January 20, 2019, a driver under the influence of marijuana crashed into a parked Michigan State Police trooper who was responding to an accident on I-75. According to a local report, the 26-year-old man was arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana and was taken to the hospital for a blood test. The driver admitted to driving under the influence of marijuana and was issued a DWI.

With new laws come new responsibilities. Michigan drivers should know that the legalization of recreational marijuana doesn’t mean they can get high and drive. Most people know better than to drive under the influence of alcohol, so since marijuana is a psychoactive drug, they should know better than to drive under the influence of marijuana. Driving while impaired under the influence of any drug can cause car accidents! In fact, other states that have legalized marijuana have seen an increase in the number of marijuana car accidents, so there may be an increase in Michigan marijuana car accidents soon. And instead of calling a lawyer to get them off of a drug charge, Michigan marijuana smokers may soon be seeking marijuana car crash legal representation.


People typically don’t call attorneys for good reasons. Being hit by a driver under the influence of marijuana, or worse, being the impaired driver who causes a car accident, is a terrible circumstance in which to call a lawyer. The Michigan Law Firm, PC recognizes that calling a lawyer and dealing with a marijuana car accident case can be a tough process. Our attorneys are experienced in dealing with all types of car crash cases and help clients make the legal process as easy as possible. For a free legal consultation with a Michigan marijuana lawyer, call us at 844.4MI.Firm.

June Is Alzheimer's Awareness Month

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As June comes to a close, so does Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. The Alzheimer’s Association defines Alzheimer’s as the most common form of dementia that can cause problems with memory, behavior and thinking. While the illness can start off mild, it’s severity can increase overtime, and interfere with daily tasks and life and is typically found in people over the age of 65. And according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of 2013, as many as 5 million Americans were living with Alzheimer's. 

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s can affect day to day functions such as writing checks, dressing appropriately for the weather, identifying the day's date, and driving. While it is not necessary for someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s to stop driving when the disease in its earliest stages, it is important to pay close attention to driving behaviors, as the number of driving errors may increase as the illness becomes more severe. The following are some of the warning signs that the Alzheimer’s Association suggests watching for, that indicate that an Alzheimer’s patient should stop driving.


How Alzheimer’s Affects Driving

  • Forgetting how to locate familiar places, such as the grocery store or a family member’s home

  • Failing to observe traffic signs

  • Making slow or poor decisions while driving such as driving at an inappropriate speed
  • Making errors in basic driving, such as driving at inappropriate speeds, hitting curbs and drifting between lanes, confusing the brake and gas pedals, and forgetting the destination during the drive

  • Difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast,

  • Impairs decision making abilities

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A study done by the University of Ottowa in 2016 showed that drivers with Alzheimer’s were less likely to use their brakes appropriately - whether using them too much or not enough, more likely to be in the wrong lane, speed, disobey traffic lights, and more likely to lose control of their vehicle. These errors could lead to potentially fatal car accidents for both passengers and drivers on the road, as well as the Alzheimer’s patients themselves.

Failure to navigate a busy intersection properly or ignoring traffic signs can also lead to car accident injuries and fatalities. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s symptoms increase over time, and as the severity of the illness increases, the patient’s ability to drive safely without getting into car accidents decreases. In addition, as the patient’s ability to think and make decisions deteriorates, they are less likely to be able to react quickly to the scenarios around them, such as not recognizing that the driver in front of them has slammed on their brakes until it is too late.

Having a conversation with a loved one about not driving anymore can be difficult and it is important to approach the matter gently. The Alzheimer’s Association suggests sitting down with those who are close to and taking care of the loved one, and creating a plan for when they should stop driving, discuss alternate methods of transportation and setting up a GPS system in their car. The Alzheimer’s Association also recommends periodic assessments of their driving, as this allows close monitoring of their driving and whether they will be able to continue to drive safely.

When the time comes, the Alzheimer’s Association recommends beginning the conversation by expressing concern, and showing love and support, as this may be a hard transition for them, and explaining to them why they should no longer be driving, and why it is a safety hazard for them, as well as those around them. If they express anger or resistance, the Alzheimer’s Association recommends being firm but understanding and empathetic, explaining that while this is a difficult transition, but is something that must happen. They also suggest, that if necessary, consult their doctor and have them reinforce that it is time for them to turn in their keys. If there is still resistance, it may be necessary to take away their keys or their car entirely. Even though this may be difficult, it is a matter of safety and an effective form of accident prevention.

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Arranging alternate forms of transportation does not have to be challenging, however, it will take communication between family members to ensure the loved one can get to where they need to be without too much difficulty. The most basic alternate form of transportation is to have family and friends drive the loved one when possible. They can take turns or shifts, and work around each others’ schedules. Unfortunately, this is not always the most convenient option, and it may be simpler to arrange for a taxi service instead. If there is not a taxi service available, there are transportation options created specially for elderly people; local senior citizens services and homes often provide transportation at low cost or free of charge. If possible, reduce the need for someone with Alzheimer’s to drive, by having groceries, prescriptions and other day to day necessities delivered.

It is important for the family and friends of those living with Alzheimer’s to understand the disease and create a supportive and loving environment to help them with this challenging time. Alzheimer’s Awareness Month aims to create an empathy and awareness around the illness. While many people have heard of the illness, many don’t know the extent of the effects that Alzheimer's can have on day to day life. Since Alzheimer’s is a fairly common disease, it is important for everyone to understand in order to support loved ones fighting the illness.


The Michigan Law Firm, PC handles all types of motor vehicle accident cases. Our accident attorneys make the legal experience as easy for clients as possible, so that victims of auto accidents can focus on recovering from their car accident injuries. Contact The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM, for a free consultation.

Springtime Is Here And So Is Allergy Season

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Springtime has been long awaited, but after it's arrival last Tuesday, many people have mixed feelings. On one hand, the sun stays out later and it gets warmer, much to our pleasure. But on the other hand, allergy season descends upon us. Runny noses and frequent coughing become the norm for the season, and tissue sales increase like Michigan gas prices. These reactions to allergies are quite annoying - but they may also be dangerous.

According to Canadian Pharmacy Meds, allergies, also known as Allergic rhinitis (AR), affect up to 30% of the adult population. However, many people don’t realize the possible dangers that may result from allergies. AR can decrease cognitive functions and can make even daily activities a difficult task. Untreated AR can even reduce driving ability and put the driver and others on the road at risk. Many people don’t usually consider something as commonplace as allergies to be the cause of a car crash, but a study reported in the July blog issue of United Allergy Services stated that many common seasonal allergy symptoms, such as watery eyes, sneezing and fatigue, can significantly impair one's driving ability. A coughing fit or watery eyes while driving could cause the driver’s attention to wander causing a distracted driving car accident. 

In the Allergy study, 19 people in the Netherlands were given a nasal spray or a placebo, and then exposed to grass/tree allergens or a placebo. Then they went on a 60-minute driving test with a camera attached to see how often the car veered towards the center lane. In the last 15 minutes of the drive, they were also given a verbal test while driving. As a result, those who weren’t treated for allergies and then exposed to them performed the worst at both the driving test and the verbal test. The participants’ driving was so impaired by allergies that they drove similarly to how someone with a blood alcohol level of 0.03% would drive! To help prevent allergy impaired driving, Canadian Pharmacy Meds recommends obtaining prescribed allergy medication for allergy season, and to start taking the medication before allergy season begins, to avoid suffering from allergy symptoms and potentially causing a car crash. Other ways to avoid the worst of allergy season are as listed:

Tips For Surviving Seasonal Allergies

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  • Keep all windows closed in your home and car to avoid letting in pollen.
  • Set your air conditioners to re-circulate in your home and vehicle to avoid drawing in outside pollen-rich air.
  • Limit your outside exposure when pollen counts are the highest. Stay inside between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. on warm and dry mornings, and throughout dry and windy days. The safest time for outdoor activities is immediately after a heavy rainfall.
  • Minimize contact with people, pets, and things that may bring pollen inside after spending excess time outdoors. Wipe down pets when they enter your home after being outside if you can’t avoid them.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen. In severe allergy cases, wear a facemask when daily pollen counts are extremely high.
  • Wash your face and hands after you’ve been outside to remove pollen.
  • Remove your work clothes and shoes as soon as you get home. Don’t drag allergens throughout your home, where they’ll continue to trigger your symptoms. Take off your shoes outside the door before entering. Throw your clothes in the hamper and change into something else.
  • Wash bed linens in hot, soapy water once a week.
  • Avoid line drying your clothes and bedding outdoors when your local pollen count is high.
  • Shower and shampoo your hair before going to bed to remove pollen and keep it off your bedding.
  • Gargling with salt water once or twice a day throughout allergy season can ease congestion and soothe a sore or scratchy throat.
  • Take symptoms seriously. If you feel lousy, rest, go to bed early, or take a sick day. Overexertion will only make you feel worse.

These tips may help those with severe allergies avoid the worst of the symptoms. Many people don’t see how common allergies could be dangerous rather than merely an annoyance. Being cautious and prepared for the upcoming allergy season may aid in avoiding allergy impaired driving and help people avoid an auto accident.


Spring is a time of happiness to many. The sun stays out later, flowers bloom, and warmth returns. Also returning, unfortunately, is allergy season. While suffering from allergies can be irritating, they may also be dangerous in the event that allergies impair driving abilities. If you or someone you know has been injured in an auto accident, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Drowsy Driving Dangers During Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time (DST) is coming up this upcoming Sunday, March 11, 2018. Unfortunately, the hour we will be losing as we “spring forward,” is an unpleasant experience. Many people wake up thinking they have more time because of the lack of light outside, only to remember that DST just occurred and they need to get up immediately, in order to make it to work on time. Beginning our day an hour earlier may be annoying but it can also be dangerous. The sun comes up later in the day, causing the morning commute to be darker and proving drivers with less visibility than they are used to. People may become exhausted as they begin their day an hour early and may get onto the road with heavy eyes and sleep-deprived minds. A tired and dark morning are two factors that can lead to car accidents.

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According to The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), our society is chronically sleep deprived, and the hour change after DST does not help with that. Both “spring ahead” and “fall back” are equivalent to the jet lag that occurs when traveling to a different time zone, and even an hour can make a massive difference in energy. These changes tinker with our sleep cycle and it may take at least 5 days for our bodies to get accustomed to them. During those 5 days, the road will have inattentive, drowsy drivers with drooping eyes, who will be waking an hour earlier than they are used to, in order to get to work or school on time.

Drowsy driving due to DST afflicts so many people that a Johns Hopkins Hospital and Standford University study from 1999 reported that the Monday after “spring forward” resulted in an average increase in car accidents, jumping from the average of 72.8% rate of a usual Monday to 83.5% the Monday after DST. That is a 10.7% increase on the Monday after spring DST, which is a shocking increase in car accidents in one day every year! 

Along the lines of NEJM's findings, Richard P. Allen, a Johns Hopkins neurologist who oversaw the study, told Vox, "We didn’t expect to see anything, actually. To me it was really amazing that one hour made that difference." According to Vox, "Allen stresses that a one-hour sleep disruption will be more severe for someone who is already sleep-deprived. "A lot of these accidents occur because we don't have residual sleep [reserves] to survive that insult," he says. "When we're running nearly empty on our sleep-wake status, it doesn't take much to push it into a negative area."

Another study by the University of Colorado Boulder also confirmed DST’s role in the rise of motor vehicle accidents, when it reported that in the first six days after DST, there were 302 motor vehicle accident deaths in 2007. The Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) also found a 17% increase in traffic accidents the Monday after losing an hour, because of DST in 2007. These newer statistics means that there has been a 6.3% increase in the number of DST car crashes, since the study conducted by Johns Hopkins Hospital in 1999. These results show the significant difference that losing an hour sleep can make to our driving, before our bodies become accustomed to the time change, and how the percentage of DST car accidents may be increasing over time.

Luckily, the Johns Hopkins and Stanford study also showed that by the end of the week after DST, the number of car accidents settled back to nearly the usual number of car crashes as the Monday before DST occurred. Perhaps this is because drivers have had the 5 days they needed to get adjusted to their new sleep cycles, and therefore were attentive enough to avoid car accidents. 

Drowsy Driving Car Crash Lawyer

People who are especially vulnerable to the changing sleep cycle during DST are those who get 6 or less hours of sleep. They are already sleep deprived and losing an additional hour of sleep due to DST can make a bigger difference in these peoples’ abilities to drive safely. What we can take away from these DST car accident studies according to Vox is that, "even small decreases in our sleep times can stress our bodies. And good sleep increasingly is seen as a subtle yet critical component of our health...To prepare for a rough Monday after the clock change, it's a good idea to get enough sleep in the days leading up to it." It's better to get catch some extra z's than to chug coffee and cause car accidents!


If you or a loved one has been injured in a Michigan car crash, call The Michigan Law Firm, PC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation. Our Michigan personal injury lawyers are ready to talk to you about your claims.

Daylight Savings Time Linked To Car Accidents

Drowsy Driving Car Crash Lawyer

Depending on the time of year, changing the clocks for Daylight Savings Time (DST) is viewed as either a blessing or a curse. During Autumn, it's wonderful to earn an extra hour of sleep when DST comes around, but when it come time to "Spring forward" is when problems arises. Research shows that it can take people a couple of weeks to adjust to the spring time change - which is essentially the same as subjecting everyone to jet lag. Losing that hour of sleep can lead to drowsy driving and may potentially cause a sleepy driving car accident if drivers fall asleep at the steering wheel. The lack of sleep can also hinder a driver's alertness on the road. These side effects help explain why 40% of pedestrians were killed in 2015, following the end of DST. 

It's also a misconception to think that just because we gain an hour of sleep in the Autumn, that this phase of Daylight Savings Time is without its drawbacks. One factor researchers believe to be behind the increase in traffic deaths during "fall back" time, is the lack of natural light that is available in the morning. Darker roads are more difficult to maneuver, and may increase the chances of a motor vehicle accident.  

“Even though it’s dark, you’re still behaving like it’s light,” says Lawrence University economist David Gerard, addressing sleepy driver behavior following the first weeks after DST.

How To Adjust To Daylight Savings Time

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Experts suggest that people should prepare a few days before Daylight Savings Time by getting in a few extra hours of sleep, especially for those who already only get around 3-4 hours of sleep every night.

"A lot of these accidents occur because we don't have residual sleep [reserves] to survive that insult," Richard P. Allen, a John Hopkins neurologist, said to Vox Media. "When we're running nearly empty on our sleep-wake status, it doesn't take much to push it into a negative area." 

With evidence that supports the link between DST and dangerous drowsy driving accidents on the road, it’s no wonder states such as Arizona and Hawaii have opted out of participating in the time change. Most of Africa and many areas in Asia have also refused to observe the time change. Daylight Savings Time might seem like a harmless hour out of our days, but taking steps to be more awake while driving are vital to help minimize health risks from abnormal sleeping patterns and the car accidents that follow. Since Autumn daylight savings is coming up in three days, on Sunday, November 5th, now might be the time for Michiganders to start catching a few extra zzz's to prepare!


Daylight Savings Time has come a long way from power saving initiatives during WWI, but it can still negatively affect people's health. The disruption to a person's biological rhythm can cause harm to themselves or to someone else in the event of a drowsy driving car accident. If you or somebody you know has been injured by a sleep-deprived driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.

Michigan Roadside Drug Testing Pilot Delayed

Rick Snyder signed a bill in June 2016, instructing Michigan police to create a roadside drug testing pilot program in five counties in Michigan. The criteria for picking the five counties will be based on the number of impaired driving crashes, impaired driver arrests, and the number of Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) in the county. 

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Why Was The Bill Passed?

The bill was signed because of an incident which took place in Escanaba, Michigan. A tractor-trailer driven by Harley Davidson Durocher, ran a red light and killed Barbara and Thomas Swift. Durocher, was sentenced to 5 years in prison after toxicology reports showed that he had THC, a chemical usually found in marijuana, in his system. After the death of his parents, Brian Swift contacted the Republican senator of Escanaba, Tom Casperson, to create a better way to catch and charge drivers under the influence of drugs. Thus the roadside drug testing pilot came to fruition.

What Does The Roadside Drug Testing Pilot Include?

"The five-county pilot program will be used to help determine accuracy and reliability of the tests." Gov. Rick Snyder said in a press release after signing the bill. 

Reports from the Office of Highway Safety Planning listed Michigan as having 99 certified DRE officers covering 37 counties. Michigan State Police spokeswoman Shannon Banner reassured the public that DRE officers have to undergo “highly specialized training” in order to identify people who are drug impaired. Banner also insisted that the test will only be administered by DRE officers who are employed by the state, county, and municipal agencies involved in the pilot. 

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Banner told MLive that, "In order to receive an oral fluid test, a driver must be suspected of impaired driving -- there will be no random traffic stops or traffic checkpoints. The police officer making the traffic stop must follow established policies and procedures and have reasonable suspicion to make a traffic stop."

If someone suspected of having drugs in their system while driving refuses to take the oral fluid test, they will acquire a civil infraction, as the new law states. During the course of the year that the pilot program will be running, an independent lab will conduct and confirm the testing to ensure the accuracy of the test kits, along with its handling.  

Who Opposes The Drug Testing Pilot? 

The main opposing force for the bill is Attorney Neil Rockind of Rockind Law, who argues that the bill is setting a dangerous precedent for Michigan motorists to be treated as guinea pigs. Rockind said, “The criminal justice system wants to take science and turn it into a fast, easy utility...science is neither fast nor easy...People are not guinea pigs. No citizen should be the subject of a test program when their liberty and way of life are on the line."

Is The Pilot Underway? 

In an article concerning the rise in traffic fatalities in Michigan, Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning Director Michael L. Prince said, "Some trends are emerging, especially with regard to drug-impaired traffic deaths, and our office is aligning resources accordingly. More resources are available to train law enforcement officers in the detection of drug-impaired drivers and OHSP is continuing federal funding for impaired driving traffic patrols throughout the year."

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Prince's comment seems to imply that the roadside drug testing pilot is still under delay even though it was rumored to start in Spring of 2017. In spite of this pilot being able to prevent or at least bring awareness to the 10 million people who choose to drive while on drugs nationwide, the Michigan State Police have yet to finalize the five counties chosen for the pilot. 

When the program is put into effect however, hopefully the number of car accidents involving drug and alcohol use will go down. In the meanwhile, drivers should be extra cautious on the road. Keep clear of drivers who are not following road rules, in order to avoid becoming involved in a car crash. On the other hand, if drivers plan to drink, they should find an alternative way to get home that doesn't involve putting themselves behind the wheel, so they don't harm other innocent drivers.


Once it's in effect, the roadside drug test pilot could possibly cut down the number of accidents and thereby prevent deaths and serious injuries caused by drivers under the influence. If you or someone you know has been in an accident caused by an impaired driver, call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC. Victims of drunk driving accidents deserve an attorney who will stand by them and fight for their rights. Call us today, 844.4MI.FIRM for a free consultation.