Pubdate: Thu, 23 Oct 2014
Source: Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ)
Copyright: 2014 The Arizona Republic
Author: Yvonne Wingett Sanchez


The Arizona Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled that the state's 
medicalmarijuana law doesn't give drivers immunity from prosecution 
if there is marijuana or its chemical compound in the body.

In December 2011, Travis Lance Darrah, a medical-marijuana user, was 
charged with two counts of DUI, one based on impairment and the other 
based on the presence of marijuana or its metabolite in his system.

A jury acquitted him of driving while impaired but convicted him of 
driving under a DUI law that bans driving while having a prohibited 
drug or its compound in the body.

Darrah appealed, arguing that all authorized medical-pot users are 
immune from prosecution under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, 
unless they drive while impaired.

He argued that a registered, qualifying patient could be prosecuted 
only under a state law that required the state to prove a person was 
driving while impaired to the slightest degree.

But the three-judge panel disagreed and let Darrah's conviction stand.

Marijuana is legal for about 50,000 Arizonans, but only for medicinal 
purposes. Patients must get recommendations from a physician and 
obtain a card from state health officials under the Arizona Medical 
Marijuana Act approved by the voters in 2010.

The presence of inactive marijuana metabolites can remain in the body 
for weeks after use.
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