Pennsylvania: Bill removes risk of wrongful DUI arrest for medical cannabis patients

Legislation that would protect Pennsylvania’s more than 700,000 medical marijuana patients from wrongful driving under the influence convictions advanced out of the Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday by a 13-0 vote.

The bill would treat medical cannabis like any other prescription narcotic. It would require proof of impairment that interferes with a person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle for them to be charged with DUI.

It now will advance to the Senate for consideration.

Sen. Camera Bartolotta, R-Washington County, the bill’s sponsor, said Pennsylvania’s zero tolerance DUI law currently creates the possibility for medical cannabis patients to be arrested, prosecuted and convicted for taking their medicine while driving, even if they’re not impaired. She called it the most serious issue facing the state’s medical cannabis patients.

“Senate Bill 167 is critically needed to protect the medical cannabis community as the penalties for a controlled substance significantly escalate,” she told the committee.

Criminal defense lawyer Patrick Nightingale from Pittsburgh told the committee medical cannabis users are at risk of losing their licenses or even being jailed, at a hearing last September.

Read more at Cannabis Business Executive

Bill removes risk of wrongful DUI arrest for medical cannabis patients

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