Maricopa County Attorney Applauds Court Ruling In Medical Pot DUI Case

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PHOENIX – Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery is supporting an appeals court ruling that says people who use medical marijuana can still be prosecuted for DUI in Arizona.

An individual who had a medical marijuana card and taken into custody for DUI in 2011. The charge was dismissed but he was convicted on a DUI law that stops individuals from getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while having a prohibited drug or its compound in their system.

The individual said that under Arizona’s 2010 medical marijuana law, authorized users cannot be prosecuted but the courts reply was “No”.

The state’s medical marijuana law is so poorly written, it places a double standard on individuals following their doctors’ orders, according to Valley lawyer Craig Rosenstein. He also stated that if a person who was prescribed narcotic pain killers by their doctor was stopped by cops and charged with DUI, “The person who had taken Vicodin can introduce at the trial that they had a prescription for Vicodin. That charge is gone”.

Card holders who smoke pot should know better prior to driving a motor vehicle, said Montgomery.

He added, “If you have a condition that calls for the use of marijuana and you have an active metabolite in your system that can cause impairing, why are you operating a car at that point?”

People who are not in favor of the ruling said that the ruling says some metabolites can remain in the system for 30 days, meaning they can be found even if an individual hasn’t smoked pot for a month.

Montgomery said that he doubts medical marijuana users would go that long between treatments. “If you have a condition that permits you to get a medical marijuana card, why are you only using it once every 30 days?”

Courts and state legislatures all around the United States are making efforts and trying to find new ways of how holders of medical marijuana cards should be stopped for possible DUI.

Rosenstein is asking state lawmakers to make changes in the medical marijuana law with two words: “Affirmative defense”. With those words, he said Arizona is not encouraging impaired driving, or pushing a political agenda but acting in a matter that is just and fair for every person.

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