Medical marijuana cards in Pennsylvania leading to legal trouble for some drivers

James Eaton

HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA) — Like nearly just one million Pennsylvanians, Deneke Weber has a clinical cannabis card. 

And like an unidentified minority of them, that card – confirming she can use hashish legally – essentially received her into a kind of authorized hassle an unlawful recreational consumer wouldn’t deal with. 

“You definitely got this DUI?” she recollects pals and loved ones members asking in Could 2021. “And I was like, ‘Yes, it is really true.'” 

Even although, she claims, she wasn’t driving below the affect of just about anything. She had been in a auto accident, and a point out trooper arrived. She showed him the initially ID she identified – just one that seems to be a large amount like a driver’s license but was in fact her professional medical cannabis ID card. That was all the trooper essential to see to suspect she had been driving impaired. 

That started a hellish yr. She dropped her license. Her small but growing enterprise, Weber’s Cleaning Services, which she had introduced the preceding 12 months? 

“It slowed down for that 12 months of combating this scenario for the reason that you never want to go driving the wheel,” Weber said. “You do not want to place yourself at possibility when you happen to be heading as a result of the steps of the justice system.” 

She suspects a responsible plea for a initially-time offense could have settled factors far more immediately, but she said she’s a “fighter” who did not want to plead guilty when she wasn’t. 

Enter Senate Monthly bill 363, sponsored by condition Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-Washington County) and co-sponsored by senators from equally functions. 

“We certainly have to take care of this,” Bartolotta mentioned. 

She tried out with a related monthly bill previous year, but it did not make it by means of the legislative method before the session finished. Bartolotta was a key proponent in 2016 of health care cannabis when it initially turned lawful and states the technicality that grew to become a nightmare for men and women like Weber was an oversight that requires to be set. 

People who aren’t driving under the influence of nearly anything “can get rid of their job. They can lose custody of their young children,” Bartolotta stated. “It really is a awful issue to have on your file, primarily when it is not justified in any way, shape or sort.” 

Even Moms Versus Drunk Driving (MADD), which fights for tough impaired-driving penalties for people today driving under the affect of marijuana and other drugs, agrees with the proposal. 

“Possessing a medical marijuana card should not be the only motive anyone is arrested for impaired driving,” the organization advised CBS News in a statement. 

Bartolotta emphasised she’s not advocating for looser rules for anyone who truly is driving impaired. 

“If you are driving impaired, you will endure the effects as enormously as the law will deliver mainly because we you should not want any person driving impaired,” she mentioned. “No 1 should really be executing that. I am exceptionally passionate about that.” 

Ditto for Weber. 

“If you are feeling like you’re impaired, question a pal or relatives member,” she claimed. “There is certainly Uber, there are cabs. Do not set oneself at chance for anything that is just not worth it.” 

Her other essential items of information: Really don’t be frightened to make contact with a attorney prior to talking with the police. She states in her haste to cooperate with the trooper – since she was self-confident she hadn’t performed something improper – she may possibly have inadvertently difficult the system for herself. 

And for now, at the very least, except and till the proposed variations grow to be regulation be absolutely sure to use your driver’s license, not your health care marijuana card, for identification. 

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