AB 2552 Would Increase Los Angeles Marijuana DUIs

A new bill that is making its way through the California Senate threatens to drastically increase the number of marijuana DUIs in Los Angeles and throughout California. carkeys.jpg

Our Los Angeles marijuana lawyers are vehemently opposed to this measure, which would recast existing law to require health care professionals who come across someone with a wound they suspect was the result of a marijuana DUI to report it to police.

Not only does that call into question medical ethics, but the measures taken to surmise such a conclusion would be highly subjective and it’s questionable whether such a report would hold up in court.

However, AB 2552, which was introduced by state Assemblywoman Norma Torres, was originally even worse.

The bill, as it was written previously, would have subjected every pot user to potential criminal charges each time they got behind the wheel – whether or not they were actually intoxicated.

When it was first written back in February, it would have made it unlawful for any person with any level of marijuana (or a similar synthetic compound) in his or her blood or urine to operate a motor vehicle. This would essentially subject a person to a charge of driving under the influence – regardless of whether he or she was actually driving under the influence. This was called a “zero tolerance” bill.

It’s important to note that just because marijuana is in your system does not mean by any stretch that you are intoxicated. Unlike alcohol, which filters through the system fairly quickly, marijuana lingers. So even if you smoked three weeks ago and had nothing since, under this law, you might still be criminal prosecuted for driving.

If the goal of the measure was to make roadways safer, how exactly was that accomplished?

Plus, California Vehicle Code 23152(a) already bans driving under the influence of drugs. The measure, as it was written, was wholly unnecessary.

However, AB 2552 continues to be a threat to basic liberties in that it would force medical professionals – under threat of legal sanctions – to report injuries that they suspect may have been due to a drug DUI.

First of all, medical professionals such as surgeons, doctors and nurses have demanding enough occupations as it is. It’s one thing to compel them to report instances of suspected child abuse.

But to compel them to guess as to whether a person was injured because they or someone else got behind the wheel after smoking marijuana is not only a waste of the judicial system’s time, it’s a waste of the medical professionals’ as well.

What’s more, we may be impeding upon people’s efforts to seek necessary medical treatment, if there is a possibility they may be arrested upon their release from the hospital.

This measure is fast moving through the legislature, passing its third round in the assembly, and sent on May 31st to the Public Safety and Appropriations Committees.

The CANNABIS LAW GROUP offers experienced and aggressive representation to the medical marijuana industry in Southern California– including growers, dispensaries and collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call 714-937-2050 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:
AB 2552 ( Torres ), Vehicles: driving under the influence: controlled substances

More Blog Entries:
Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyers: A Judge’s Pot Plea, May 25, 2012, Los Angeles Marijuana Lawyers Blog