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Changes to DUI Law Under Illinois Medical Cannabis Act

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Arlington Heights DUI attorney, illinois medical cannabis, DUI arrest, legal medical marijuana, medical marijuanIn August 2013, Illinois followed Colorado and Washington to become the twentieth state to legalize the medical use of cannabis under its Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. Under this Act, medical marijuana is legal for registered users to treat symptoms of a statute-defined debilitating medical condition. Authorization of use includes the following qualifications:

  • User must be 18 years of age or older;
  • User must have written certification from an Illinois-licensed physician; and
  • User must be registered with the Department of Public Health.

With the passing of this Act, which went into effect January 1, 2014, there have been changes to DUI law. Prior to the Act, it was against the law for a person driving a motor vehicle to be under the influence of cannabis or have any trace of cannabis in the blood, breath or urine.

According to the Illinois State Bar Association, Illinois now legally allows registered users to operate a motor vehicle with cannabis in their systems, if they are not impaired. However, if a driver is pulled over and there is reasonable suspicion of impairment, a police officer can issue standardized field sobriety tests. Failure of the field tests or refusal to submit to testing results in a suspension of the person’s driver license, same as alcohol-related DUI offenders.

Registered cannabis users who refuse to submit to field sobriety testing are not eligible for obtaining a monitoring device driving permit (MDDP), which grants driving privileges when using a breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID). Non-registered cannabis users keep their eligibility for a MDDP.

Despite the change in law in regards to driving under the influence for registered medical marijuana users, impaired driving as it relates to the use of drugs and/or alcohol remains illegal. If you have been arrested for driving under the influence of cannabis in Illinois, contact an experienced Arlington Heights DUI attorney today to discuss your legal options.

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