How the Recreational Marijuana Ballot Initiative Could Affect DUIs in Arizona

Jul 16, 2016 — by James E. Novak Attorney PLLC
Tags: Marijuana Dui

A woman smoking a jointHere at The Law Office of James Novak, we take all legal matters seriously. This includes current laws on the books as well as new laws that are being proposed. Both can have an affect on DUI defense and legal strategies, whether the charge involves alcohol or other controlled substances.

For example, a ballot initiative involving recreational marijuana use may have a major impact on motorists who are pulled over with THC in their system. Let's look a the basics of the new law and then see how it can impact DUI cases.

Background on the Recreational Marijuana Use Ballot Measure

Marijuana legalization has been a major issue for many years, and Arizona may have an opportunity to vote on it come November.

A ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana for recreational use received enough popular support to be voted on by the people. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) collected 258,582 petition signatures and submitted them to the Arizona Secretary of State. If at least 150,642 of those signatures can be verified, the measure will be on November's ballot.

People in support of legalization say that millions in revenue can be generated each year thanks to a 15% sales tax on marijuana products, as well as fees related to licensing and regulation.

Where's the Legal Limit: An Issue of Measuring Intoxication

While the measure sounds like it will have many benefits, there's a problem of measuring intoxication when someone is driving.

Anyone aged 21 or older will be allowed to use marijuana under the initiative, but there is no wording related to marijuana DUI. While the legal limit for alcohol is a BAC of 0.08, the vagueness of the laws may allow any amount of THC in a person's system to count as intoxication.

Measuring Impairment Should Be Objective Rather Than a Judgment Call

If one wants t regulate marijuana like alcohol as the CRMLA name suggests, more specific language needs to be considered when it comes to DUI charges for marijuana. The state of Colorado, which has been a trailblazer with regard to legal marijuana use, specifies a level limit of 5 nanograms of THC.

By specifying an amount like 5 nanograms in the wording of legislation, the state of Arizona can take a smart step forward in marijuana legalization and enforcement of smart laws that keep people safe. It's better to specify something rather than relying on arbitrary judgment calls from law enforcement. Everyone can thus be treated fairly under the law.

Keeping an Eye on the Vote in November

We'll keep an eye on the recreational marijuana use initiative as November approaches, and we'll monitor various news regarding legalization, enforcement, and other topics that may be of interest to clients and people interested in the proper rule and enforcement of the law.

As more information becomes available and as the conversation continues to evolve, we will be sure to discuss these matters on the blog to keep you up to date.

Contact Our Law Firm About DUI and Marijuana Charges

To learn more about your legal rights and options regarding drunk driving charges and marijuana charges, it's important that you contact our team of DUI and marijuana law experts today. We at The Law Office of James Novak are here to help you in your time of legal need.

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