Medical Marijuana and DUIs – Are There Special Rules?

January 11, 2022 Criminal Defense, Drug Charges, Drunk Driving/DUI

Currently, federal law prohibits the use of marijuana. However, 36 states have legalized the use of medical marijuana, including Florida. Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative, also referred to as Amendment 2, was a constitutional amendment that was approved by 72% of voters on November 8, 2016. Amendment 2 “allows a variety of medical marijuana products, such as food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, and ointments” and upon the passage of  SB 182 in 2019, medical marijuana can also be smoked. All medical marijuana products must be tested in accordance with health department regulations

Medical Marijuana in Florida

Under Section 316.193 of the Florida Statutes, a person who is driving or in actual physical control of a vehicle and is under the influence of any controlled substance that impairs their normal faculties is guilty of driving under the influence (DUI). Under Florida law, marijuana is a controlled substance, which means using it and getting behind the wheel can result in a DUI arrest with penalties that are just as severe as if you were arrested for a DUI involving alcohol.

But do individuals who have a legal medical marijuana card have anything to worry about? The short answer is yes. Marijuana, whether it’s being used for legal medicinal purposes or illegal recreational use, is still an impairing substance that can lead to a serious risk of danger when you get behind the wheel. In fact, the “Drive Baked, Get Busted” campaign from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles was required as part of the newly passed medical marijuana law in 2016. The 5 million dollar campaign was intended to educate Floridians on the dangers of marijuana-impaired driving and make the public aware that although there is no specific impairment limit with marijuana, using marijuana can still lead to a DUI. To learn more about DUI Marijuana penalties, click here.

Sobriety Tests for Marijuana 

Law enforcement can use a variety of field sobriety tests when they believe someone is driving under the influence of marijuana and their faculties are impaired. They may ask you to walk the line, similar to the test they would administer if they believed you were under the influence of alcohol. Reactions to marijuana differ from person to person, which is why there is no specific impairment limit with marijuana. As a result, a breathalyzer cannot be used to determine sobriety as it could in situations involving alcohol. Therefore, law enforcement may look for other indicators, such as the smell of marijuana or warning signs in an individual’s eye movement. In addition, law enforcement may ask drivers to submit to a urine or blood test that would reveal what intoxicants are in their body.

Tallahassee Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one have a medical marijuana card and are facing DUI charges for driving under the influence of marijuana, it is imperative you contact an experienced Tallahassee criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Don Pumphrey and the members of the legal team of Pumphrey Law Firm have decades of criminal defense experience and will explore every possible defense applicable to your case. Contact Pumphrey Law Firm today at (850) 681-7777 or send an online message to discuss your case during an open and free consultation with an attorney in our legal team.

This article was written by Karissa Key

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