With the state’s recent legalization of medical marijuana, Pennsylvania is now in the final phases of implementing the law. And medical marijuana dispensaries have been popping up across the Keystone State, including the first to open in the State College area. Although medical marijuana may be perfectly legal in Pennsylvania – with a prescription and a patient card – patients must still use caution to avoid drug charges, DUI and other potential pitfalls.
Even though a motorist may have a prescription for marijuana, it is still illegal to drive in Pennsylvania with any amount of THC in one’s system. This means that if a motorist who has taken a prescribed dosage of medical marijuana is pulled over and tested, he or she could be charged with DUI. Pennsylvania State Police, recognizing the potential for a legal quandary, have urged lawmakers to update the state’s DUI laws to account for medical marijuana.
Another potential danger is carrying legally-prescribed marijuana into a state where possession is illegal and medical marijuana is not recognized. Anyone with a prescription for medical marijuana should research the laws of the state(s) to which they are traveling – or passing through on their way – before deciding to take their weed with them. What’s more, marijuana is still illegal in all 50 states under federal law, so folks should avoid taking it to a place where they may be under federal jurisdiction, such as a national park or an airplane.
Finally, if one has a medical marijuana prescription and intends to use it, they should consider getting rid of any firearms that they own. At least one federal appellate court has upheld the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ ban on gun sales to medical marijuana cardholders. This means that anyone possessing both a gun and medical marijuana card could run afoul of federal law.