Sep 23, 2021
arrest, chronic illnesses, conviction, driving, DUI, DUI conviction, impairment, medical cannabis, Medical Marijuana, medical marijuana program, PA, patients, Pennsylvania, prescription drugs, prosecution, S.167, Sen. Camera Bartolotta, Title 75, vehicle, “zero tolerance” driving under the influence law
Despite having a medical marijuana program since 2018, Pennsylvania’s “zero tolerance” driving under the influence law still does not recognize the difference between medicinal and recreational cannabis use. This statutory oversight places unimpaired medical patients at risk of arrest, prosecution, and conviction every time they operate a motor vehicle, even when driving responsibly. Under current law, any amount of cannabis found in a driver’s system could result in a DUI charge, which carries a penalty of 72 hours of incarceration, a $1,000 minimum fine, and a 12-month license suspension for the first offense, with increased penalties for each subsequent DUI conviction.
S.167, a bill sponsored by Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R), would amend current law to require proof of actual impairment — similar to the requirements for operating a vehicle while using prescription drugs — to form the basis for a DUI conviction. Thousands of Pennsylvanians have found relief for their chronic illnesses through the medical marijuana program, but until Title 75 is amended, patients will continue to risk arrest and conviction every day for using a substance that does not impair their ability to operate a vehicle.
That’s why we’re calling on Pennsylvania residents to write their state senators today and urge them to sign on as cosponsors to S.167 to remove DUI penalties for legal medical cannabis use. With your support, we can build the momentum needed to get this commonsense reform signed into law.
Thank you for taking action, and please stay tuned for additional updates throughout the 2021 legislative session.