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Pennsylvania State Police Encourage Updating DUI Laws

Pennsylvania made medical marijuana legal a little more than a year ago, and dispensaries are beginning to pop up throughout the state. With these changes in drug laws, and with a national movement toward broader legalization of marijuana for both medical and recreational use, state law enforcement officials say lawmakers should prioritize updating Pennsylvania’s driving under the influence (DUI) laws.

Many police officers believe that individuals who have legally been prescribed marijuana for medical conditions could be charged with DUI under the laws that currently exist, even if they are not actually intoxicated while driving.

What would updated laws look like?

According to the Pennsylvania State Police, while alcohol-related DUIs are down across the state, drug-related DUIs are way up, which could lead to some unintended consequences for people who use cannabis legally. The idea is that the state would update its laws to accommodate for medical marijuana users taking the drug in small doses.

Under federal law, marijuana is still considered a Schedule I drug, which means there is “no medical reason” for taking it. This is also the rule in Pennsylvania under the motor vehicle code, which means any trace amount of marijuana in the bloodstream could lead to a person being charged with a DUI, even if he or she is not intoxicated. It’s an outdated law that may lead to unnecessary punishments and enforcement methods.

The idea of changing these DUI laws has received some positive feedback from lawmakers, so it seems likely to be only a matter of time before the state legislature addresses the issue.

Until then, work with trusted Reading criminal defense lawyer David R. Eshelman if you have been charged with a DUI while legally using medical marijuana.


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