If Medical Marijuana Becomes Legal in Texas, Can I Drive After Using?
As Texas House Bill 1535 sets to expand access to medical marijuana, patients may wonder whether they are permitted to get behind the wheel after partaking in prescribed marijuana to treat conditions ranging from chronic pain to terminal cancer. While safety is always the priority when operating a motor vehicle, does a prescription for medical marijuana protect you from a DUI charge?
Texas Compassionate Use Program
Under the Compassionate Use Program (CUP), medical marijuana may be prescribed for certain qualifying conditions. However, the state heavily restricts the concentration of tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) that can be present in such prescription products. The maximum amount of 0.5% THC concentration may increase to 1.0% under Texas House Bill 1535. The CUP is therefore considered to be a low-THC, high-CBD program that aims to give patients access to the health benefits of medical cannabis while limiting the opportunity to utilize the drug for its psychoactive qualities.
Measuring Impairment Caused by Marijuana Use
The most significant issue with measuring impairment related to the use of THC-containing products is that THC tests do not indicate whether or not a person is currently under the influence in the same way as blood alcohol tests. Unfortunately, the inability of THC testing to accurately determine intoxication levels means that any amount of THC in your system could lead to a DUI charge.
Consequences of a DUI in Texas
If you have just been charged with your first DUI, you will face penalties including fines, mandatory minimum jail time and the loss of your license. Fines and sentences increase with each subsequent conviction, with maximum penalties topping $10,000 in fines, a prison sentence of up to 10 years and the loss of your license for up to two years.
Facing a DUI Charge? We Can Help!
Have you been charged with a DUI after using medical marijuana prescribed by your healthcare provider? You need the help of a law firm with DWI experience. At Smith & Vinson, we have represented satisfied clients who had their charges completely dismissed. Our aggressive style in the courtroom has a record of success. Get started today with a free consultation.