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Medical Marijuana and DUID in California

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 of alcohol, 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. today!