An anniversary of any type caused people to pause and look back on not only the event, but also its effects over time. Pennsylvania recently commemorated the one-year anniversary of the legalization of medical marijuana.
However, instead of nostalgic reflections and anecdotes, lawmakers are expressing concerns over a growing legal conundrum.
Continuing unease surrounds motorists with a legal medical marijuana prescription operating a motor vehicle while technically under the influence. A positive test for the now-legal and prescribed drug could still lead charges of driving under the influence.
Currently, people taking alcohol and prescription drugs under the advice of a therapeutic range can legally drive a vehicle. With medical marijuana products being prescribed in a similar manner, current Pennsylvania DUI law does not reflect the recently added drug.
Federal law is clearer. It bans any amount of any type of marijuana, a schedule 1 controlled substance, in a driver’s system. Until that classification is changed, any amount of THC showing up in a blood test could lead to an arrest and subsequent DUI criminal charges. In the end, a district attorney would have the final say in prosecuting a case.
State lawmakers are being asked to revisit and amend DUI law to include a “non-prescribed Schedule I drug” provision. Under the new legislation, drivers would have to carry a valid medical marijuana identification card. However, any blood testing must show the amount of the drug equal to the amount prescribed by a doctor.
Taking action to address a federal versus state inconsistencies is easier said than done. Currently, the only universal agreement surrounds the risks motorists face when drivers are operating a vehicle under the influence.