What are the laws: Driving & Medical Marijuana?
With the recent victory of Amendment 2 in Florida, comes the legalization of medical marijuana for patients with certain debilitating illness. Exactly how this new law will be implemented is still in the works, but is set to take effect in January.
Medical marijuana will be available with a prescription to over 450,000 estimated people suffering with debilitating illness. But what these thousands of people need to be aware of is that driving under the influence of medical marijuana, even if they are using it per the medicine’s rules is still illegal.
No states allow medical marijuana users to drive while under the influence of the drug? Why because no matter what the reason, an influence is an influence and is still unsafe. Driving while under the influence of medical marijuana will still result in a DUI.
“Under the Influence” for Marijuana
So what does “under the influence” mean in regards to marijuana? Actually being charged with a DUI for driving while using medical marijuana, varies by state. Some states say that any amount of weed is considered under the influence. This is called the “per se” approach. Some states say if you are above the threshold, you are under the influence. This is all dependent on the blood or urine concentration levels. Lastly, some states rely on the driver’s behavior or actions to define them as under the influence.
Florida is a “per se” state, meaning that any amount of marijuana, medical or not, in your system while driving makes you under the influence. A prosecutor does not have to show impairment; just proving that marijuana is in the defendant’s system is enough for a DUI charge.
A marijuana DUI charge can include fines, probation, jail time and other serious consequences. These laws may be looked at more closely in the coming months in regards to medical marijuana but most likely will not change much or at all.
Injured in marijuana DUI accident? Call Attorney Mike Hancock at Hancock Injury Attorneys for a free consultation, 813.915.1110.