Up until today there were conflicting Arizona Statues on the books regarding medical marijuana. One law, the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, which was passed in 2010, says that licensed medical marijuana users could not be prosecuted for using marijuana. That law conflicted with Arizona DUI law that says the state can prosecute anyone for driving under the influence of marijuana.
Here’s how the Arizona Supreme Court ruled:
A medical marijuana card DOES NOT grant immunity to DUI charges. HOWEVER, the medical marijuana card CAN be used as a defense in a criminal proceeding. The defendant has to prove that levels of marijuana (and the marijuana metabolites left in the bloodstream) were no longer causing impairment at the time of the DUI charge.
This ruling came about after two persons, convicted of a DUI in municipal court, were not allowed to use their medical marijuana cards as a defense. They appealed to both the Superior Court and Court of Appeals. Both courts held to the original municipal court verdict.
It’s interesting to note that both DUI convictions in this case were upheld by the Arizona Supreme Court as well. The court said that the defendants didn’t offer any evidence to show that the concentration of drugs in their system at the time of arrest was not causing impairment and if you are ever caught driving impaired, medical marijuana card or not, you should be charged.
With many marijuana advocacy groups beginning to campaign for legalizing marijuana for recreational use, this debate will not end here.
If you have any questions about Arizona DUI law or Arizona medical marijuana law, give me a call. I offer free consultations on all criminal charges and cases so you have a no obligation, secure means of getting your questions answered by someone with experience on both the prosecution and defense side of Arizona law.Back to Blogs