Can I Get a DUI Charge for Medical Marijuana?
In Pennsylvania, it does not matter why THC shows up in your blood. The state adopted a zero-tolerance policy, which says that even one nanogram of THC results in charges for driving under the influence even if you are not impaired. But what about users of medical marijuana?
They are prescribed marijuana by a doctor for use in a full array of conditions. Should those who need medical marijuana be punished? Let’s see how Pennsylvania looks at it more closely.
Being Pulled Over
Police can pull over a driver they suspect is driving under the influence. This means the motorist fails to stop at a traffic light, speeds, drives way below the speed limit or weaves in and out of lanes. In short, they need a reason to make the stop.
These are all signs that the driver is impaired by alcohol or illegal drugs. In such cases, the driver will be tested to see what their status is starting with a Breathalyzer test for alcohol. There is no breath test for marijuana at the current time, so usually, a blood or urine test is done. Both will show if THC is present in the person’s body.
What Is THC?
THC is a mind-altering chemical found in marijuana. When eaten or smoked, THC is carried in the blood to various body organs, including the brain. If smoked, the effects last one to three hours and several hours when eaten. However, the THC is absorbed into body organs and tissues where it remains for a period of time until it is metabolized and excreted.
How Long Will Someone Test Positive for THC After Using Medical Marijuana?
This depends on the test and the amount of marijuana usage. Heavy users of marijuana can test positive for THC for days. This happens because the THC is absorbed by fatty tissues in the body quicker than it is eliminated.
Urine and Blood Tests
Urine tests are widely used. There is a big discrepancy in the amount of time THC is detected based on the degree of use. For example, a moderate user who uses the drug several times each week can test positive for seven to 21 days. On the other hand, someone who uses marijuana twice a week will test positive for one to three days. Finally, someone who uses a good deal will test positive for 30 days or more. By contrast, THC will show up in the blood for 36 hours.
How This Relates to Medical Marijuana
People who use medical marijuana do it for diseases or recurring symptoms that are helped by its ingestion or by smoking it. Hence, it is often used on a consistent basis. Those who use medical marijuana often work during the day and use it at night. As long as the driver is not using medical marijuana when they are driving, they should not be impaired.
How an Attorney Can Help
When charged with DUI marijuana, it is best to have an attorney on your side. They will work to prove that the driver was not impaired when they were charged. The lawyer may also be able to prove that there was no reason to stop the driver for impairment, hence an illegal stop. It is best to attack the charges before you are convicted of DUI, but due to the complex nature of this, it is hard to do on your own.