Increased arrests due to driving under the influence of drugs

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Since medical and recreational marijuana was approved, the Marquette County Sheriff's Office says they've seen an increase in people driving under the influence of drugs in the area.

"In 2015, we had three, 2016 we had four, 2017 we had 29 and this past year, 2018, we had 34 arrests for operating under the influence of drugs,” said Marquette County Sheriff Greg Zyburt.

Ironically, the number of people driving under the influence of alcohol has decreased.

But, the Marquette County Sheriff's Office warns people to still use caution. The consequences for driving under the influence of drugs remains the same.

"They're the same as they would be for alcohol. You're driving impaired basically and that's against the law,” said Zyburt.

They also note the consequences are still in effect even if a person has a medical marijuana card.

"Whether you have a medical marijuana card or you don't, if you're driving around after smoking, if you're impaired, that's illegal,” said Zyburt. “You don't want to be in a car, a 3,000 pound bullet driving around impaired, and that's against the law either way."

The Marquette County Sheriff's Office also mentions how some laws have changed.

"When an officer stops you and if he smelled marijuana in the car, before it was illegal now that's not enough to go off on to have someone step out of the car or search the car,” said Zyburt. “Now if it's a juvenile, that would be someone under 21, and they did smell it then, because it's still against the law, then you can continue your investigation."

Sheriff Zyburt also stated how, "In Michigan for OUIL, under the influence of liquor it's .08, they still haven't set the standard as to what point the amount of THC in the blood, so the officer is going to have to do a little more work with his standard field sobriety tests and determine how is the person impaired when they're driving."

The Marquette County Sheriff's Office advises people to research current laws or contact their local law enforcement agency to know what is and isn't legal to avoid trouble.

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