“Zero tolerance” in PA resulting in multiple arrests of medical marijuana cardholders
A new law proposed in the Pennsylvania legislature could require law enforcement to prove that a driver is impaired and incapable of operating a motor vehicle before charging them with a DUI. The proposal was made by Democrats in Harrisburg who are doing everything they can to fix the laws surrounding marijuana in the Republican-led legislature.
As the current law stands, drivers who test positive for THC are charged with the same tier DUI as those who test positive for heroin or are well over the legal amount for alcohol intake. Unfortunately, marijuana lasts in the system much longer than other substances, and Pennsylvania medical cannabis patients have been charged with the highest tier DUI without even being impaired, simply for having a medical marijuana license.
PA has, what some call, a “zero-tolerance policy” when it comes to driving under the influence. This allows cops to request a blood test if a driver smells of marijuana or the officer has reason to believe that the driver is under the influence of pot. Republican Senator Wayne Langerholc even noted that a taillight infraction could lead to an arrest if the driver holds a medical marijuana card.
There are more than 700,000 registered patients in Pennsylvania who use marijuana as an alternative treatment, SB167 will treat medical marijuana patients similar to those using prescription narcotics as treatment by requiring proof that the driver is impaired and unable to safely operate their vehicle.
The bill has bipartisan support and will likely be signed into law when it reached Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk, but the future of recreational marijuana in the Commonwealth remains uncertain. The Republican-led legislature refuses to budge on the issue and Wolf’s term limits out in November. The current gubernatorial race is highly contested, and Republican candidate Doug Mastriano, who currently serves in the state’s senate, is not an advocate for adult legalization.