Senate Bill 374 and the Risk of Medical Marijuana to Drivers

Written by: The Law Offices of Garrett T. Ogata

Medical Marijuana dispensaries may be on their way to Nevada and Las Vegas, but the risk of being arrested for legally prescribed marijuana still remains.

NRS 484C.110 is Nevada’s DUI statute and it includes “per se” prohibited substance amounts, which includes marijuana and its inactive metabolite.  This means lawful users are at risk for getting a DUI even if they are not impaired.

A real life example is as follows: a client who legally carried a Nevada issued Medical Marijuanacard was sitting idly at a red light when a careless driver rear ended his vehicle.  He was clearly not at fault for this accident, but when police arrived, they asked both parties if they needed medical attention and if they used any medication.  The client immediately informed the officer he was under a doctor’s care and had a Medical Marijuana card.  The client was clearly not at fault for the accident and showed no signs of impairment, but was arrested because officers suspected him for being under the influence of a prohibited substance and being in physical control of a motor vehicle.

This situation is all too common and the current per se limits, which include an inactive metabolite for marijuana, punish lawful users solely for having previously consumed medication and showing no signs of impairment.  Nevada legislature needs to address marijuana and its metabolite per se status.

Police are trained to ask certain questions and their Arrest/Incident Reports are loaded with questions that involve your medical history, including doctor’s care and medications.  It is important to know your rights and how to handle police encounters.  See Traffic Stops.

The fact that the legislature is considering medical marijuana dispensaries is a push in the right direction and hopefully Legislature will address the current marijuana per se limits.

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