Marijuana News

Addressing Pennsylvania's Medical Marijuana and DUI Laws

Addressing Pennsylvania's Medical Marijuana and DUI Laws


Pennsylvania's archaic laws surrounding medical marijuana usage and driving have caused a stir in the community, with over half a million residents being at potential risk of unwarranted DUI charges. This is due to the state's zero-tolerance rule regarding the presence of schedule one drugs, such as cannabis, in a driver's system. Ironically, a state-sanctioned medical marijuana card could be a direct ticket to a DUI charge, regardless of whether the user is impaired or not.

Attorney Patrick Nightingale, a staunch advocate for cannabis users, has shed light on this glaring issue. Under the current law, every medical marijuana user is considered guilty of DUI 24/7, 365 days a year, irrespective of their actual impairment. This draconian policy blatantly disregards the rights of legitimate medical marijuana users, essentially criminalizing their medical needs.

However, change is on the horizon. State Senator Camera Bartolotta has reintroduced Senate Bill 363 in an attempt to rectify this injustice. Her bill proposes a critical pivot from assuming impairment to needing proof of impairment for a DUI charge. This legislation could be a game-changer, protecting the rights of medical marijuana users while maintaining road safety.

Bartolotta acknowledges that medical marijuana can indeed impair driving, but she emphasizes that not all users are impaired. The challenge lies in determining impairment levels, as there is currently no definitive test for THC or other marijuana components. Instead, traditional field sobriety tests and police observations are the primary means of assessing impairment.

Both Bartolotta and Nightingale stress that medical marijuana users are under no obligation to disclose their usage or present their medical marijuana cards to law enforcement officers during traffic stops. They advise residents to keep their medical marijuana cards separate from their driver's licenses to avoid unwarranted suspicion.

As we await the decision on Senate Bill 363, it's evident that Pennsylvania's medical marijuana and DUI laws need urgent and critical examination, reformation, and action.


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