State legislators stalled an attempt Tuesday to repeal a statute that regulates carrying marijuana inside cars.
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
LANSING — State legislators stalled an attempt Tuesday to repeal a statute that regulates carrying marijuana inside cars.
The Michigan Senate voted 19-16 against the House bill. The legislation would have annulled a law classifying vehicle transportation or possession of marijuana as a misdemeanor, unless it’s enclosed in a case in the trunk, or in a case not readily accessible from the vehicle’s interior if there’s no trunk.
Bill supporters said a recent Michigan Court of Appeals case rendered the provision moot. The higher court ruled in 2016 that medical marijuana patients in compliance with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act cannot be prosecuted for violating the conflicting statute on transporting marijuana. Those without a medical card are already prohibited from possessing the substance in any scenario.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Peter Lucido, said as a veteran lawyer, the rejection of the measure Tuesday was a shock.
“It’s a no-brainer,” the Shelby Township Republican said. “If we don’t repeal a statute that’s unconstitutional, what in the hell am I doing here?”
The bill passed the House with a near-unanimous vote in October. Among its supporters was the Michigan State Police.
But Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, a Republican from West Olive, said his chamber rebuffed the legislation due to unease over its repeal of requiring the substance to be locked away from the driver’s reach.
“It could be openly carried, almost like an open receptacle,” he said about the proposed changes. “Our caucus didn’t feel like that was quite the right way to go.”
The bill’s opponents also said that instead of repealing an existing provision, the state should amend it by codifying updated law on driving with marijuana into the