Injecting some sanity into the debate over marijuana DUI, the Arizona Supreme Court yesterday said that just because you had used medical marijuana at some point during the week doesn’t mean you’re impaired when you’re driving.
The ruling contradicts prosecutors who warned medical marijuana users not to drive at all because certain metabolites of THC can remain in the blood stream for days.
The high court said prosecuting drivers not for direct signs of impairment but for having metabolites of THC in their blood “leads to absurd results.”
The ruling could cast doubt on some states’ efforts to establish a 5-nanograms-per-milliliter blood limit for certain metabolites. Some states, including California, are weighing how to deal with stoned drivers in the era of medical marijuana.
Arizona has a zero-tolerance limite for any metabolites of controlled substances in the blood streams of drivers.
But the justices agreed with medical advocates who say such a standard doesn’t correlate to impaired driving and would only serve to persecute medicinal users.
The case in question involved motorist Hrach Shilgevorkyan, who admitted to cops who had pulled him over that he used cannabis the night before. His blood turned up THC metabolites, and he was hit with two counts of DUI.
In particular, prosecutors focused on Carboxy-THC, which can remain in the blood stream not just for a few days, like Hydroxy-THC, but as long as a month.
The Supreme Court wasn’t buying it, concluding:
Drivers cannot be convicted of the offense based merely on the presence of a non-impairing metabolite that may reflect the prior usage of marijuana.
You hear that, California lawmakers?
Via The 420 Times