Pot is legal in Michigan (kinda…not quite…not quite yet) – how are you liable?

April 09, 2019

So... Proposal 1 passed and Pot is legal (kinda) in Michigan. How does this effect your liability as someone whom owns a car, home, or business here.

I am not an attorney and we will know more about this as we move forward. You may want to keep this stuff in mind. This was shared with our team and clients earlier today and may help you.

I don't have a problem with pot but we are going to get questions on this stuff and it does have an effect on insurance and what we do to help people.

Some things to remember:

  • Once the law takes effect (although passed it is not yet in effect) it is still only legal to smoke on private property, you can't smoke in public.
  • You have to be 21 to be in possession... ..it is still illegal if under 21.
  • You still can't be high at work... . this applies to us, our customers, and their employees.
  • You can't smoke in a car... .or allow your passengers to smoke in a car.
  • You still can be fired for smoking on the job or testing positive for THC if your employer has a no tolerance policy.

For Insurance:

A. If you drive high... .it is against the law. You can be arrested, charged with DUI, etc.

B. If you, a household member, your kid, or someone whom borrows your car drives high and causes injury or damage... ..you will be liable and are more likely to be sued for negligence.

C. If your employee causes injury or property damage while high... .the employer is still liable for the consequences.

D. If someone is injured at your home while you are high, they are high, etc... .. you are still liable.

E. If someone gets high at your home, leaves, and has an accident ... you could be liable if you provided the weed. “Technically the homeowners policy only has coverage for host liquor... .so I don't think you'd be able to get any coverage from the home policy if this happens.

You may believe... .”people don't get in accidents when they are high... .only drunk”. Regardless of what you believe... .the law is really clear... if you had THC in your system during an accident... it is driving under the influence. You will be held liable for this.

If you have POT in your possession in the car... . that is probable cause for a drug test/blood draw... . during an accident you could be charged with DUI.

For example: you smoked with friends at a party. You head home. You are not speeding or impaired. A pedestrian crosses the road in-front of you without looking and you hit him with your car on accident. The police find 1oz of weed in the car, smell it on you, and have you test. THC is in your system.

How will that look? Will it increase the chances of being sued? What if the guy died? Can the prosecutor charge you with homicide... manslaughter... murder?? This doesn't have different rules because it is POT... The law still counts it as a Drug.

The law only makes it ok to smoke a J at your home when you don't go anywhere and can't hurt anyone. It doesn't sanction weed culture and could have consequences if you don't understand how the law applies.

Sorry to kill your buzz.


Chuck VanDuren – Agency Principal
VanDuren Irving West Insurance Agency
Auto – Home – Life – Motorcycle – Business
616-803-5022 Talk/Text

Other sources of helpful info:

Detroit Free Press – Pot
Mlive – Pot
Varnum Law – Weed in the Workplace

Helpful. Personal. Insurance.