With the opening of Arizona's first medical marijuana dispensary, many people are wondering how these new laws will interact with existing traffic laws. Arizona currently has a zero-tolerance policy in regards to driving and marijuana use, and any trace of it can be grounds for a DUI charge.
Alarmingly, just being around marijuana -- if a patient goes to a medical marijuana dispensary, for example -- can lead to a positive test. Additionally, the drug stays in the human system for weeks, and so a medical marijuana user may be safe to drive but still be charged. The state boasts more than 500 law enforcement officers trained to detect drivers under the influence of drugs. If a field sobriety test is administered and a driver is found to be under the influence of marijuana, "They're going to be arrested. Period," says a spokesperson from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety's Drug Evaluation and Classification program.
Other states that have enacted new laws in regards to marijuana have changed other laws to accommodate it. Arizona, at this time, does not appear to be moving in that direction. It is imperative that medical marijuana users not operate vehicles while under the direct influence of the drug, as law enforcement officers have made it clear that there is zero tolerance.
For those who are charged with DUI who are not under the influence of marijuana at the time, but may have it in their system due to an allowance for medical marijuana ought to pursue an aggressive defense against the charges. The Phoenix criminal defense lawyers at Suzuki Law Offices can help with your defense.
Source: AZFamily.com, " Are Arizona's medical marijuana and DUI laws set on a collision course?" Christine LaCroix, Nov. 19, 2012