In 1970, Congress made marijuana a Schedule 1 substance under the Controlled
Substance Act because back then, the government believed that marijuana
had “no accepted medical use.” Now, nearly 50 years later,
a number of states have acknowledged its medical use. Going further, the
following states have decriminalized
possession of marijuana by adults, including Alaska, California (2016), Colorado (2012),
Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon (2014), and Washington.
Medical Marijuana Backed by Research
Medical marijuana advocates argue that marijuana is a safe and effective
treatment for AIDS, cancer, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, arthritis,
epilepsy, Lupus, glaucoma, Parkinson’s, and a bunch of other medical
conditions. In 2007, researchers at California Pacific Medical Center
reported that a chemical found in marijuana, cannabidiol, may prevent
cancer cells from spreading.
In 2010, researchers at Harvard Medical School found that in low doses,
marijuana’s sedative effects may enhance mood and reduce anxiety
– all without the negative side effects of anti-anxiety medications.
These are just two of the numerous studies conducted.
The medical community can no longer ignore the overwhelming evidence that
medical marijuana has many medical uses. Even the
U.S. Food & Drug Administration came out and said, “The FDA supports researchers who conduct adequate
and well-controlled clinical trials which may lead to the development
of safe and effective marijuana products to treat medical conditions.”
Can You Get a DUID with a Prescription?
So, what if you have a valid prescription for medical marijuana, can you
still get a
DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) if you test positive for THC in
your system? Under VC 23152, it’s illegal to drive under the influence
marijuana, or any other drug if it causes impairment. However, the fact that you
took a hit of marijuana doesn’t necessarily mean that you are impaired.
Take Your Chemical Tests Wisely
Since marijuana can be detected much longer in urine than in blood (several
days as opposed to several hours), it’s better to choose a blood
test vs. a urine test if you haven’t smoked marijuana recently.
On the other hand, if you’re a regular smoker and you smoked pot
recently, it’s safer to choose a urine test. Though you can expect
to test positive, the question remains as to whether you were “under
the influence” at the time of your arrest.
The mere presence of THC in your system doesn’t automatically lead
to a DUID conviction. Instead, the court will look at the totality of
the circumstances and the evidence as a whole, including chemical test
evidence, erratic driving, and field sobriety test results. This is also
how California law treats other medications, including OxyContin and depressants.
Facing DUID charges in Orange County? To protect your constitutional rights,
work with a Board-Certified DUI defense expert – call the
Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc.