It’s a reality that people can be charged for driving under the influence if they’ve used drugs or had alcohol to drink before getting behind the wheel. Any time a person is too inebriated to drive, it puts others at risk, which is why the law is designed as it is.
One thing that has made a difference to some people in Pennsylvania, though, is the legalization of medical marijuana. They’ve used it for pain and to treat medical conditions for approximately a year, as of 2018. Despite that, people using this drug, which largely does not have psychological effects like other strains of smoked marijuana, could still face DUIs. As a result, lawmakers have decided to start talking about changing the state laws to make an exception for those on marijuana as a medication.
Marijuana is a Schedule I drug
With marijuana still listed as a Schedule I drug, it’s a federal crime to have it in your system. Even in states where it’s legal, driving with THC in your system could result in an arrest and a DUI. Marijuana is psychoactive, which means it could be dangerous to drive when you’re taking it.
The important thing to remember is that medical marijuana doesn’t work in the same way. It doesn’t have the same high as recreational marijuana would. It’s designed to help people. Sadly, Pennsylvania law doesn’t discriminate, which means individuals with any amount of the drug in their system could end up with a DUI.
The state has already seen a growing number of people arrested for DUIs based on drug use. Alcohol-related DUIs are down, making it a concern that those using marijuana for medical purposes could be getting caught up in the older laws as an unintended consequence.
If you use medical marijuana and are accused of driving under the influence, you’re in a difficult position. The laws have not yet been changed to consider your situation.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fight the charges, though. You were given the medications you take for a reason, and you may not have been intoxicated just because THC registered in your blood. Marijuana affects people differently, and there is no standard for determining if someone is intoxicated by the drug. If you were driving safely at the time of your arrest, you could have a strong case for having the charges against you dismissed or lessened.