Landmark State Court Ruling Says THC in Blood is NOT Sufficient Grounds for DUI Read

Dec 2013
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Phoenix, AZ – A Court of Appeals in Phoenix delivered a ruling on Thursday that could set a precedent as legal systems grapple with the question of driving under the influence of cannabis.


“Medical marijuana users cannot be convicted of driving while under the influence of the drug absent proof that they were actually impaired, the state Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.
In a major setback for prosecutors, the judges pointed out that Arizona, unlike some other states, has no law that spells out that at a certain level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the blood a person is presumed to be impaired…
What that means is every case where prosecutors charge a medical marijuana user with breaking the law requires expert testimony to show that particular individual was impaired at that particular level of THC.”




This is a huge win for citizens and for rationality itself, as it negates the government’s assumption that an arbitrary number means a driver is impaired, which provided grounds for criminal conviction.
Nadir Ishak was pulled over in 2013 after his vehicle drifted out of its lane. Instead of invoking his 5th Amendment right to remain silent, Ishak admitted to smoking cannabis that morning when the cop probed him for some sign of “criminal” behavior. The cop said Ishak had bloodshot eyes and “body tremors and eye tremors” during a field sobriety test.
Ishak was charged with ‘driving while impaired to the slightest degree’ and ‘driving with marijuana in his body.’ Jurors convicted him of the second charge, but even though Ishak had a state-issued medical card, the city judge refused to allow him to tell this to jurors.

Presenting the medical cannabis card would have shown the jury that “Ishak was legally entitled under the 2010 Arizona Medical Marijuana Act to use the drug and have it in his system.” Judge Diane Johnsen at the Court of Appeals recognized that Ishak was denied a fair trial, and further pointed out the city judge was wrong to rule that “it was up to Ishak to prove he was not impaired.”
The city prosecutor had actually stated it’s irrelevant whether a defendant is actually impaired or not, and suggested the 2010 law means medical cannabis cardholders have to prove through expert testimony that THC in their blood does not cause impairment in “people generally” or “in any person.”

This could bring the criminal DUI industry out of the stone ages and give the
people a leg to stand on. It is amazing to me that it has taken this long.

Landmark State Court Ruling Says THC in Blood is NOT Sufficient Grounds for DUI
 
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Dec 2013
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Johnsen also rightfully pointed out: “And, according to evidence here, there is no scientific consensus about the concentration of THC that generally is sufficient to impair a human being.”
Even though Ishak had a blood-THC level of 26.9 nanograms, there was no foundation to prove this causes impairment.
Indeed, there is no widely accepted way to test cannabis impairment in drivers, as THC metabolites can show up in the blood long after a person has ingested cannabis. Also, experienced users can be completely unimpaired even if they test above an arbitrarily-derived blood-THC limit.


Johnsen also rightfully pointed out: “And, according to evidence here, there is no scientific consensus about the concentration of THC that generally is sufficient to impair a human being.”
Even though Ishak had a blood-THC level of 26.9 nanograms, there was no foundation to prove this causes impairment.
Indeed, there is no widely accepted way to test cannabis impairment in drivers, as THC metabolites can show up in the blood long after a person has ingested cannabis. Also, experienced users can be completely unimpaired even if they test above an arbitrarily-derived blood-THC limit.



Despite the best efforts of local prosecutors to criminalize medical cannabis patients when they drive vehicles, it appears that state courts are having none of it.

“Thursday’s decision is the latest in a string of appellate court rulings that have limited the ability of prosecutors to bring various charges against medical-marijuana patients. These range from limiting the kind of evidence that prosecutors can use to bring drugged-driving charges, to requirements for law enforcement officers to give back drugs taken from legal users.”
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Landmark State Court Ruling Says THC in Blood is NOT Sufficient Grounds for DUI
 
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Sep 2015
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Brown Township, Ohio
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Pot is still a Schedule 1 drug and when you buy a gun one the questions on the questionnaire I filled out, it asked about was drugs. A medical marijuana card could be a reason by the FBI background check to refuse the gun shop to sell you a gun. The Ohio Assembly recently passed a law making medicinal pot legal in Ohio and Governor Kasich signed it.

Random drug tests were done where I worked in Georgia and if THC is found, you were immediately fired. In Georgia, if your wife calls the cops and tells them where to find it, the cops get a search warrant and you are busted which is expected. What is not expected is that you automatically lose your Drivers License even though you weren't driving and had no pot in your car.

Road sign in Florida, Come to Florida on vacation and leave on probation.

This insane law needs to be repealed on a National level.
 
Feb 2014
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nunya
#4
This could bring the criminal DUI industry out of the stone ages and give the
people a leg to stand on. It is amazing to me that it has taken this long.

Landmark State Court Ruling Says THC in Blood is NOT Sufficient Grounds for DUI
What I am waiting for is a ruling that says a piss test showing I got high in the last 30 days is not grounds to take away my USCG issued Merchant Mariner Credentials. We need a standardized test that demonstrates a level of intoxication from THC at the time of the test. Basically a "breathalyzer" for pot use.
 
Dec 2013
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What I am waiting for is a ruling that says a piss test showing I got high in the last 30 days is not grounds to take away my USCG issued Merchant Mariner Credentials. We need a standardized test that demonstrates a level of intoxication from THC at the time of the test. Basically a "breathalyzer" for pot use.
I have read that they created one but it wouldn't hold up in court.
 
Jul 2014
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What I am waiting for is a ruling that says a piss test showing I got high in the last 30 days is not grounds to take away my USCG issued Merchant Mariner Credentials. We need a standardized test that demonstrates a level of intoxication from THC at the time of the test. Basically a "breathalyzer" for pot use.
That's a federal rule, the same thing applies to truck drivers.

You'll need the feds to change the law, and there's really not a chance of that happening under a conservative administration.
 
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Dec 2013
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That's a federal rule, the same thing applies to truck drivers.

You'll need the feds to change the law, and there's really not a chance of that happening under a conservative administration.
Why do you say that?
 

imaginethat

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Why do you say that?
As you pointed out, CBD extracts have been designated Schedule 1 drugs by the DEA ... under Obama.

First off, it's a lie. CBD extracts most definitely have medical uses. From the DEA: "Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse...."

Let's hope The Donald can do better than that.
 
Dec 2013
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As you pointed out, CBD extracts have been designated Schedule 1 drugs by the DEA ... under Obama.

First off, it's a lie. CBD extracts most definitely have medical uses. From the DEA: "Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse...."

Let's hope The Donald can do better than that.
That is why I was wondering why he was specifying "under a conservative administration"

It is not like there have been leaps and bounds made under the progressive administration.
 

imaginethat

Forum Staff
Oct 2010
68,118
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Colorado
#10
That is why I was wondering why he was specifying "under a conservative administration"

It is not like there have been leaps and bounds made under the progressive administration.
Well there has been a "hands off" attitude towards the states that have legalized cannabis. And, The Donald's AG Jeff Sessions is on record: "... this drug is dangerous, you cannot play with it, it is not funny, it's not something to laugh about... and to send that message with clarity that good people don't smoke marijuana."

And ya don't get much more "conservative" than Good ol' Boy Sessions, do ya?

 
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