Medical Marijuana Usage and DUIs

One of the major concerns regarding the legalization of marijuana for medical use was how this law was going to coincide with the strict Nevada DUI laws. And unfortunately, officials are still searching for answers. In today’s current climate, you can have a medical marijuana card, which allows you to legally possess marijuana for medical purposes. But in doing so, every time you drive a car with marijuana in your system, even if legally obtained, you are likely committing another crime – a DUI.

Although the court of public opinion has vastly changed its tune regarding the usage of marijuana, the current DUI laws have simply not kept up with this change of attitude. And for a number of obvious reasons, it is an issue that needs to be addressed immediately.

Nevada currently has a per se driving law for those individuals who are arrested driving under the influence of marijuana. What this really means is this – if a driver is caught driving with a detectable amount of marijuana or marijuana metabolite in their system, and that amount is above a certain threshold, they are automatically guilty of a DUI – drugs. It does not matter whether that person is actually driving impaired. The thresholds for blood are 2 ng/ml of marijuana or 5 ng/ml of marijuana metabolite.

Such a strict DUI law does not coincide well in a State where already thousands of medical marijuana cards have been issued and more are anticipated to be issued in the coming months. The law does not take into account how long marijuana can stay in a person’s system – even up to weeks after use. Therefore, those who are regular users will likely always be at risk of a DUI every time they drive a car simply because they build up a tolerance over time and the legal threshold for marijuana or marijuana metabolite is very low. The law also does not factor in whether the person driving under the influence is actually impaired. This means an individual under the influence of marijuana that is not impaired and capable of operating their motor vehicle safely can still be convicted if the threshold of marijuana or marijuana metabolite is satisfied.

A DUI law that allows for individuals to be convicted of a DUI even when not impaired has no place in our society today. The roadways are notnecessarily being made any safer nor is the general public. It simply creates a situation where regular users of marijuana, as those with a medical prescription cards will likely be, have an almost guaranteed conviction coming their way if charged with a DUI for marijuana.