A study conducted by the Institute for the Study of Labor recently concluded that states with medical marijuana laws may have safer roads, according to Time.
Researchers from the Institute reportedly found that the states (and the District of Columbia) that have legalized medical marijuana saw a 9 percent decrease in fatal car wrecks from 1990 to 2009. Arizona recently passed Proposition 203 which allows Arizona medical marijuana cardholders to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana at a time.
Previous studies have found that driving while high may be safer than driving while drunk, according to Time. Some possible explanations are that stoned drivers are more aware and likely to be at home, while drunk drivers tend to be more reckless and drink in public venues.
Regardless of the possible reasons why stoned driving might be safer, it is still illegal for Arizona drivers to be driving under the influence of any drug, including marijuana.
However, the law is unclear when applied to medical marijuana patients who are caught driving while high. There is currently no standard measurement for marijuana impairment in Arizona. Although the state has a "per se" drugged driving law which makes it illegal to drive with any amount of specifically-named drugs in your system, marijuana is not one of the listed drugs.
If you are a medical marijuana patient that has been arrested for drugged driving, you should contact an experienced Phoenix DUI attorney to discuss your possible defenses. However, it is highly unlikely that the Institute's study will count as a defense.
- Find a Phoenix DUI Attorney (FindLaw)
- Medical Marijuana Laws, Traffic Fatalities, and Alcohol Consumption (Institute for the Study of Labor)
- Driving Under the Influence of Drugs (FindLaw)