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On June 23rd, 2022, a Missouri man was charged with driving while intoxicated (DUI) with marijuana although he had a medical marijuana card. In the incident, the man is accused of hitting a pedestrian. Since the pedestrian died, the man was charged with a felony count of DWI resulting in death. The prosecutor is arguing that a person can be charged with driving under the influence of alcohol even if the driver has a valid medical marijuana card.

An image showing THC a primary chemical in medical marijuana

Can a person with a medical marijuana card be charged and convicted of DUI in Pennsylvania?

Off the bat, it’s important to point out that, under Pennsylvania law, a person can be charged with driving under the influence of any controlled substance if it makes them incapable of driving a car or other motor vehicle safely. For Schedule I drugs, a person is guilty of DUI regardless of how well they were driving the car if any trace of the drug can be found in their system. A panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court has recently concluded that medical marijuana is still classified under that provision.

In 2016, Pennsylvania passed a law making medical marijuana legal in certain forms and for a specific list of medical conditions. Although medical marijuana is legal in Pennsylvania, the state legislature hasn’t changed the DUI statute to make an exception for medical marijuana. Until that change is made, a driver can be charged an convicted of DUI even if they have a medical marijuana card.