On Nov. 6, 1996, the California Compassionate Use Act, Proposition 215 went into effect as California Health & Safety Code 11362.5, making it legal for a California-licensed physician to recommend marijuana to their patients. This made it legal for patients to possess and cultivate marijuana for their personal medical use with their doctor’s blessing.
On January 1, 2004, SB420 went into effect, broadening Prop. 215. This newest piece of legislation under California H&SC at the time that established a state ID card system, which was to be run through county health departments throughout the state.
While using marijuana for medical purposes may be legal in California, a person found driving under the influence of marijuana may be subjected to the same penalties that they would have if they were driving under the influence of alcohol.
Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana
While driving under the influence of alcohol has a specific BAC that shows how impaired a driver may be, there is currently no legislation on how much THC must be in a person's system before they are declared unfit to drive. For a person to be convicted of DUI for marijuana, it must be proven that they were:
- Driving a vehicle
- Under the influence of marijuana when driving
- Impaired from using the caution of a sober person due to marijuana use
Some common ways a DUI defense attorney can defend a driver of being under the influence of marijuana is to prove that the person: 1) did not use marijuana, 2) used marijuana but was not under the influence when they drove, or 3) that they used marijuana but did not experience significant mental and physical impairments.
Even if an officer asks a driver that has been pulled over to take a blood or urine test to determine their levels of THC, there is no reliable way to prove when a person had used the drug.
The main component in marijuana, THC, is fat-soluble, meaning that it is stored if a person's fat even after they are no longer high. For a regular user, marijuana that was consumed a few days or even weeks prior may appear on tests even if the user had not consumed marijuana since.
The current laws and views on marijuana are rapidly changing, and they often create many difficulties for prosecutors to prove that drivers were considered too high to drive. Our experienced attorneys can work to seize these opportunities for the benefit clients, and can create customized defense strategies that protect your rights and future.
If you have been charged with a DUI related to marijuana, know that there are available defenses to your case. An attorney at the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. can work with you to create a solid defense that can prevent serious and life-changing consequences from a DUI conviction.