With Arizona reaching milestones in the area of medical marijuana, we felt it would be the appropriate time to address the issue of driving under the influence of medical marijuana. Here are a few things Arizona residents need to know on the current state of medical marijuana and its impact on your driving:
Medical Marijuana Actions: An Arizona judge recently ordered Governor Jan Brewer to allow the creation of medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, a step that could foreshadow the full implementation of Arizona's recently-passed medical marijuana law. Couple that news with the announcement that Phoenix will be opening the first marijuana-cultivation center in the nation, and medical marijuana should be increasingly more accessible as early as the summer. This also means medical marijuana users should be even more cautious about their driving habits.
Medical Marijuana DUI: Given the probable influx of medical marijuana, can drivers with medical marijuana licenses in Arizona be charged with a DUI if they are found to be driving while under the influence of the drug? The answer is yes - you can always be charged with driving under the influence of prescription drugs. Getting a license to use medical marijuana does not mean you have a license to drive while high.
Issues with Drugged Driving Convictions: Law enforcement often face difficulties when trying to get DUI convictions on drugged driving. One of the most significant difficulties in getting a DUI conviction for drugged driving is proving that the person is impaired. There is currently no standard measurement for marijuana impairment in Arizona. Now that the court has ordered the implementation of medical marijuana laws, hopefully the legislature will define what constitutes as marijuana impairment.
Drugged Driving Defense: Given the ambiguities surrounding drugged driving and medical marijuana, and the difficulties with proving impairment, you should consider speaking with an experienced DUI attorney if you have been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana. An attorney can provide DUI suspects with information on their rights under the constantly-evolving DUI laws and help prepare the appropriate defense.
For more information on Arizona medical marijuana laws and drugged driving, see our Related Resources section.