With the recent passage of a law permitting the use of medical marijuana in California, police officers will soon be dealing with its effects on arrests for DUI in Los Angeles. Will someone using cannabis for medical reasons be able to avoid DUI charges? A recent ruling by Arizona’s Supreme Court has denied medical marijuana users in that state an automatic out on DUI charges.
The Arizona court case stems from an appeal by two women, Kristina Dobson and Marvelle Anderson, arrested for DUI in separate incidents. Police originally charged them under two of Arizona’s DUI statutes. An A1 refers to operating a motor vehicle under the influence of a drug—in other words, when impaired. An A3 charge concerns the operation of a motor vehicle when a person has a detectable amount of a drug in their system.
Prosecutors eventually threw out the A1 charges against each woman but won convictions on the A3 charges. The women contested their convictions in Arizona’s appeals court, saying that the medical marijuana statute permitted them to have the drug in their systems. The appeals court ruled against them.