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US: Arizona Supreme Court Rules: Pot Metabolite Can't Be Basis Of DUI

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23 Apr 2014

Source: Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ)

Website: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/

Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/24

Author: Yvonne Wingett Sanchez

Page: A10

Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?224 (Cannabis and Driving)


State Supreme Court Says Inactive Marijuana Traces Do Not Prove Impairment.

Motorists who have used marijuana cannot be charged with driving under the influence on that basis alone, even if some traces of the drug are detected in their blood, the state's top court ruled Tuesday.

Arizona Supreme Court justices disagreed with the Maricopa County Attorney Office, which argued before the court in November, that drivers whose blood tests reveal the presence of an inactive marijuana metabolite known as Carboxy-THC can be prosecuted for driving while impaired.

[Remainder snipped]


It is manifestly unjust that people who may have ingested cannabis days ago, and are perfectly sober, can, and are currently being charged with DUI cannabis in Australian states, such as South Australia, and it needs to change, and soon, so that the law is similar to that of Colorado, where only people who exceed the prescribed level of THC in their system are charged with that offence.

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23 Apr 2014

Source: Washington Times (DC)

Website: http://www.washingtontimes.com/

Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/492

Page: A6

Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?224 (Cannabis and Driving)


PHOENIX - Authorities can't prosecute Arizona motorists for driving under the influence of marijuana unless the person is impaired at the time of the stop, the state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

The ruling overturned a state Court of Appeals decision last year that upheld the right of authorities to prosecute pot smokers for DUI even when there is no evidence of impairment.

The opinion focuses on two chemical compounds in marijuana that show up in blood and urine tests - one causes impairment, the other doesn't but stays in a user's system for weeks.

Some prosecutors had warned that anyone in Arizona who used medical marijuana simply shouldn't drive or they would risk facing DUI charges.

Tuesday's state Supreme Court opinion removed that threat in explaining that while state statute makes it illegal for a driver to be impaired by marijuana, the presence of a non-psychoactive compound does not constitute impairment under the law.

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It would be ideal to have a link to the legal opinion. I can't seem to find it online easily, but it appears to rule on carboxy-THC alone which last for weeks after last use for regular smokers and is not at all pcychoactive. 11-HO-THC is the primary metabolite and is psychoactive to some degree, but it breaks down into carboxy-THC rather rapidly in casual users too.

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