HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA (9/17/2021) — Next week, the Pennsylvania Senate Transportation Committee will discuss a bill that would exclude medical marijuana users from the state’s “zero tolerance” impaired driving laws.
Sen. Camera Bartolotta, R-Washington, said the state’s DUI legislation does not distinguish between medicinal and recreational cannabis use, putting registered patients at risk of being prosecuted.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, about 368,000 medical cannabis patients are registered in the state.
Senate Bill 167, introduced by Ms. Bartolotta, would add language to Title 75, the Vehicle Code, stating that “if the individual is a medicinal marijuana patient in conformity with the terms of the Medical Marijuana Act, proof of actual impairment shall be required.”
Ms. Bartolotta stated in a December co-sponsorship memo that this is similar to how drivers discovered in possession of prescribed medicines are treated. The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association is one of the bill’s backers.
“Given the terrible ramifications of a DUI conviction, my proposal will provide crucial protections for medicinal cannabis patients by guaranteeing that responsible use of their legal medicine does not result in a criminal conviction,” stated Ms. Bartolotta.
The committee hearing is set for Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. The committee will also look into suggestions to deal with repeat DUI offenders and recent judicial challenges to the state’s DUI law.