Michigan Lawmakers Mull THC Bill After Girl’s Death
Michigan lawmakers are considering setting a legal limit for THC users who choose to drive after the death of a 3-year-old girl. Liliana Elizabeth Leas was killed by a driver who was allegedly high at the time.
Nicole Leas of Warren is accused of killing her step-granddaughter, 3 1/2 year-old Lily Leas, in May of 2020 while under he influence of THC. But since there's currently no laws on the books regulating how much THC can be in your system while driving, prosecutors can only charge her with a misdemeanor.
That prompted State Representative Pamela Hornberger to introduce HB 4727 to the legislature. The bill would cap the amount of allowable THC in a driver's system to no more than 5 nanograms per milliliter.
Macomb County prosecutor Peter Lucido worked with Hornberger in drafting the bill and tells WXYZ TV in Detroit that this type of law would've made a case like Lily's much easier to prosecute:
It would have been a real easier case as it relates to how high is one too high to drive a vehicle even if it is moving a car six feet...We’ve already had, that we know of, one child killed by a person that was strictly under the influence of THC, no alcohol in their system no other drugs in their system so no is not an option.
Experts though are unsure whether or not any type of THC testing could be reliable and that false positives could lead to false arrests, and in some cases, false prosecutions.
A study from the National Institutes of Justice concluded that blood, saliva, and urine tests “were not reliable indicators” of cannabis intoxication and that “standardized field sobriety tests commonly used to detect driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol were not effective in detecting” cannabis impairment.
But Hornberg says her bill is just a starting point for discussions as the availability of legal THC expands in Michigan.