State Senator Proposes Bill To Remove DUI Penalties for Registered MMJ Patients Without Proof of Impairment
Despite the legalization of medical marijuana (MMJ), the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania still has a “zero-tolerance” statute. The current law prohibits the operation a motor vehicle with any amount of a Schedule I controlled substance, which includes marijuana or its chemical components and metabolites, regardless of impairment.
Yet unlike alcohol, traces of the non-psychoactive material produced by marijuana (metabolites) can stay in a person’s blood system for days or weeks depending on one’s physical and physiological characteristics. Therefore, that person under current law could still be subject to prosecution even without the Commonwealth having to prove actual impairment.
All this may be about to change. Last month, a new bill was introduced by Sen. Camera Barolotta (R) calling for the removal of DUI penalties for state-licensed use of MMJ in Pennsylvania. Specifically, the proposed law would require law enforcement to prove the registered patient was in fact impaired when operating the motor vehicle and not that they had merely used the drug at a prior time.
According to the Senator’s office, “the measure was created in cooperation with patients, attorneys, and the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association.” Sen. Barolotta said herself, “We need to ensure that the legal use of this medicine does not give rise to a criminal conviction,” Bartolotta said. “Patients fought tooth and nail for years to see the use of medical cannabis legalized to treat a variety of terrible health conditions. They should have the peace of mind to know that they will not be punished later for using their prescriptions responsibly.”
At Neff & Sedacca, P.C., we continue to constantly monitor the on-going changes in cannabis law. We have a web site section that addresses some of the key, rapidly-changing, areas with respect to criminal law. If you have questions regarding a related case or general criminal legal matters, you should seek experienced legal counsel. To schedule a confidential consultation with the attorneys at Neff & Sedacca, P.C., contact the firm by phone at 215-563-9800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.