Medical Marijuana Patients at Risk for DUI in PA

Pennsylvania law makes no distinction between medical and recreational cannabis, leading the way for medical marijuana patients to be prosecuted for driving under the influence (DUI), according to a news report from WFMZ-TV. Legislators are considering changing the law to address this concern for Pennsylvania’s 368,000 medical cannabis patients.

Under the current zero-tolerance impaired driving law in Pennsylvania, any amount of cannabis in the bloodstream qualifies for a DUI. Essentially, this prevents medical marijuana patients from ever operating a vehicle. Senate Bill 167 aims to amend the law to remove medical cannabis as a controlled substance so that it’s not a criminal offense. In this way, medical marijuana would be treated similarly to prescription drugs.

Testimony at the Senate hearing noted that cannabis DUI prosecution is inconsistent throughout the state. Some district attorneys prosecute to the fullest extent of the law with convictions based on cannabis’ Schedule 1 classification, while others elect to withdraw charges completely. Add to the confusion that the cannabis screening may not be accurate, since it reportedly detects the presence of inactive THC, according to a pharmacist’s statement.

Some criminal statutes can be confusing. If you are in need of advice from a leading Pennsylvania criminal defense law firm, please reach out to us. Our firm is recognized as being at the forefront of litigating these types of cases throughout the commonwealth.