On November 20, the Arizona Supreme Court determined that medical-marijuana
cardholders are not automatically exempt from DUI laws if they are pulled
over and accused of having marijuana or marijuana metabolites in their
system. The decision for this ruling stemmed from a case where two women
were accused of two different DUI charges after marijuana was found in
The two women were charged with A1 and A3 offenses. A1 charges concern
whether or not a driver is impaired while A3 charges determine the presence
of a drug in a person’s system, and does not determine whether the
drugs in the system caused impairment.
During the court case, the women’s A1 charges were dropped. However,
the two were still accused of violating A3. The two appealed the decision,
stating that the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act barred the A3 charges for
medical-marijuana cardholders since marijuana is prescribed to these holders.
The Arizona Court of Appeals denied their appeal, and the two women filed
another appeal with the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court rules that medical-marijuana prescription cards do not
immunize drivers from A3 DUI charges, but that drivers do possess the
rights to supply evidence to prove they were not impaired at the time
The decision raised many concerns about what does or does not constitute
impairment in terms of marijuana usage since there is no adequate way
of determining a person’s impairment through the use of blood-levels.
This gives defendants the chance to prove the lack of impairment, but
does not give the state power to prove impairment with hard guidelines.
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