The medical use of marijuana has been legal in Colorado since 2000, allowing many Coloradans to seek relief from various illnesses. While its use is highly accepted, like any drug, laws apply to its use.
Understanding the consequences of driving under the influence of marijuana while possessing a medical marijuana card is essential. Colorado takes a solid stance on DUI offenses, and a strong marijuana-related DUI defense is always the best choice to fight these charges and a possible conviction.
It can easily be assumed that being arrested for DUI depends on blood testing or a breathalyzer. However, this is not the case. Colorado law permits any person whose ability is impaired even slightly by alcohol or drugs to be arrested for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while ability impaired (DWAI). Even when individuals possess a medical marijuana card, law enforcement can arrest them for impaired driving.
One of the significant concerns with marijuana is that even when it is inactive in the body after being metabolized, a risk of DUI exists. The detection of Delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the substance in cannabis that creates impairment in the blood, can occur three to four hours after use. As noted in the reference above, limits placed on the active amount of Delta 9 THC in the blood allow for permissible inference, leading law enforcement to believe an individual is driving while under the influence.
A driver is presumed to be under the influence of marijuana when blood levels of five nanograms or more are detected in blood samples. However, even with a medical marijuana card, a driver can receive a citation or be arrested for impaired driving if their ability to operate a vehicle is slightly affected. Levels of impairment observed and recorded by law enforcement are the primary determinant of being charged with DUI.
Like other residents in Colorado, individuals with medical marijuana cards are allowed to transport the quantity limits of marijuana defined by state law. However, traveling with containers of marijuana that contain a broken seal can result in a traffic offense. It is always advised to remove marijuana from a vehicle immediately after its purchase.
The ability to drive safely after using medical marijuana depends on factors such as weight, sex, medical conditions, and additional medicines being consumed. Guidelines suggest when it is safe to operate a vehicle after use, but it is recommended to use caution or have someone else drive. Colorado follows expressed consent laws, meaning refusing a test will result in a driver’s license revocation for one year.
Many variables play a factor in a DUI charge when marijuana is involved. Possessing a medical marijuana card does not protect from the laws that apply to marijuana use and driving. If you have been charged with a DUI and maintain a medical card, speak with our Colorado DUI defense team as soon as possible.
Flesch & Beck Law is dedicated to protecting drivers’ rights in Colorado. We understand that marijuana can be used to treat many medical conditions, and we strive to reach the best outcome in any case in Colorado. Schedule a free consultation by emailing or calling today.