Written by Guest Blogger:
Garrett T. Ogata, Esq.
3841 W. Charleston Blvd. Ste 205
Las Vegas, NV 89102
Nevada medical marijuana users do have protection when it comes to using their medicine in the state of Nevada. However, just because you have a valid medical marijuana card does not mean you are protected from Nevada’s strict, some would say unfair, DUI prohibited substance law.
Nevada implements a per se DUI law, which presumes someone is under the influence of alcohol if their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is at a certain level, most commonly a BAC of .08 or more. Nevada has taken this same approach to marijuana by enacting NRS 484C.110(3), Nevada’s Prohibited Substance statute. Marijuana and marijuana metabolite, along with other controlled substance such as cocaine, heroin, meth & others, make the per se prohibited substance list.
The per se limits set forth in NRS484C.110(3) for marijuana and its metabolite are extremely low:
· 2 nanograms per milliliter of blood for Marijuana (THC); and
· 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood for Marijuana Metabolite.
For someone on medical marijuana, hitting these per se levels is not difficult and thus not difficult for prosecutors to charge you with a DUI even if you showed no signs of being under the influence. That is why it is incredibly important to Know Your Rights and how to handle police stops. Many people make the mistake of admitting to having a Medical Marijuana card and taking their medicine. This applies to other medicines as well. Some of the standard questions law enforcement ask people is regarding doctor’s care and visits, and if you are on any medication and when was the last time you medicated. Law enforcement asks these types of questions to build probable cause against you and ultimately arrest you and subject you to a blood test.
Your Medical Marijuana card and the fact that your doctor prescribes marijuana for your symptoms is not a defense against a DUI. Even if you are under the per se limits, prosecution can still use a lower amount to argue you were impaired by a controlled substance and incapable of safely operating or controlling your vehicle based on the totality of circumstances.
An important battle that is being overlooked by legislature, lobbyist, political parties and voters, is the per se limits set forth in Nevada’s Prohibited Substance statute. It is time for everyone to take a hard scientific look at what levels of THC impair drivers and also remove the per se metabolite level that punishes patients with the non-impairing metabolite. Be safe, know your rights and never driver under the influence.
To learn more about DUIs and Your Rights, download the free “Medical Marijuana User’s Guide” for Drivers.