Don’t Get Smoked – What you Need to Know About Medical Marijuana and Driving in Pennsylvania
Whether you love it or hate it, medical marijuana use is here to stay in PA. That means that a number of our citizens are going to be using marijuana in one form or another and then engaging in the activities of daily life, which include operating motor vehicles. Our lawyers are former prosecutors who know the laws on marijuana and DUI and help people to navigate them in Mckean, Potter, and Tioga County, PA.
The medical marijuana laws are new, and that means that there is a lot of confusion on the part of the public and law enforcement over the new law in terms of what is permissible and what will get you into trouble fast. The information provided in this article is taken directly from our own cases and discussions with District Attorneys about their views on medical marijuana and driving. Below are a few scenarios that illustrate likely outcomes.
You have your medical marijuana license. You go to the dispensary and you purchase some dry leaf and some oils and devices o use the same to deal with your Multiple Sclerosis. On your way home you are pulled over for a broken tail light. The officer notices marijuana in your car. What happens?
In this scenario, the officer is likely to ask you about the marijuana. He may also seize it to investigate the marijuana and the related devices to determine whether you have used them to smoke marijuana. If everything is in order, you will be allowed to get the marijuana back, but you will likely have to go to the station to get it.
Take away: Have everything in order. Better not to have the marijuana or devices out in plain sight. Better to put them in the truck or at least away in bags.
You have your medical marijuana license. You have oils and leafy material at home. You are pulled over for high beaming the officer. You have some marijuana in the vehicle as well as devices to ingest it including a pipe. The officer asks you if you smoked any marijuana recently. You reply, yes last night.
In this scenario, the officer may seize the marijuana and devices. He is also likely to read you implied consent law and attempt to get you to agree to a blood draw.
Likely outcome – charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. In PA it is illegal to have any amount of THC (the active ingredients in marijuana) in your blood. This means that you are likely to get charged with DUI if your blood draw shows any THC.
Take away: Vaping marijuana with a medical license is lawful. Smoking marijuana is not legal. Do not smoke it. If you do, do not have a smoking device in your car. There are pipes that will allow you to vape leafy material. Get the right equipment so you don’t have to worry about a drug paraphernalia or DUI charge.
You have your medical marijuana license. You have oils and leafy material at home. You are pulled over for high beaming the officer. You have some marijuana in the vehicle as well as devices to ingest it including a pipe. The officer asks you if you smoked any marijuana recently. You reply, no. I only vape it.
In this scenario, the officer may seize the marijuana and devices to investigate further and return them later. In PA it is illegal to have any amount of THC (the active ingredients in marijuana) in your blood, but because you have not smoked it, you are not likely to be charged with DUI unless your blood shows levels way above a therapeutic dose and you show signs of impairment.
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