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Medical Cannabis and DUI Laws

DUI Laws and Medical Cannabis

The WSIL television station reported that the state of Illinois is on its way to enforce policies for the legal use of cannabis. The initial batch of the individuals, seeking access to marijuana, is already being granted their prescription cards. However, the patients will have to wait for months for getting legal permission to use marijuana. Meanwhile, people are found talking about the effects of the pilot program on the DUI (Driving Under the Influence) laws and drug regulation rules in the state.

Illinois’ DUI laws say that if a person is tested positive even for a little quantity of marijuana in blood, they will be considered violators. The cannabis program does not favor such a practice in case of patients. Anyhow, the drug regulatory authorities will be allowed to subject the individuals to field sobriety tests.

In case of an accident, the Energy officers on reaching the place may ask for standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs) not just for alcohol but also other intoxicating substances.

As explained by Shawn Ladd, the Energy Police Chief, the SFSTs also include testing sugar level in the blood and other substances that may pose hindrance to safe driving.

Ladd explains that in most of the cases, the Energy Police department deals with drugs prescribed by the registered medical practitioners and cannabis is expected to be listed in the same class.

He added that even if people are provided with legal cover to use or possess a particular substance, they will have to follow the drug regulatory laws while on the road for the safety of the public in general.

If the patients get awareness about the possible impacts of marijuana on their driving activity, Ladd believes that Illinois’ pilot program will not create any serious difficulties for his team.

Ladd says that it is the duty of drivers to safeguard their own lives as well of others on the road.

There are also speculations that it will not be easy to determine the level of drug for which an individual is considered as dangerous on the road. The primary purpose behind the application of field tests was to monitor driving under the influence of intoxicating substances.

Brian Roberts, the Carbondale Defense Attorney, says that many contradictions are found on the issue of ‘medical cannabis and field sobriety tests’.

After having dealt with some of the marijuana cases, he is of the view that the program will not lead to any complex situation.

At the same time, Roberts is found saying that, for some people, the program will really create a serious issue.

After the hearing of such cases in the courts of law, appropriate strategies will be devised to address the issue. Roberts suggests the state of Illinois to follow the precedence set by other states in defining the permissible quantity of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the circulatory system of drivers.

Roberts says their primary focus is to prevent the excessive use of marijuana which may interfere with the driving practice on the part of the patients. He adds that such a dangerous level of drug in the blood of a person can be determined.

There is another issue to be encountered by Illinois on the way to the successful launch of pilot program for cannabis, i.e. whether to define same or different standards of drug use for the patients and ordinary individuals. Presently, Senator Kwame Raoul and Illinois Bar Association are collaborating for the passage of a bill which will shift the use of traces of drug from the category of DUI to that of a misdemeanor.

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