In Phoenix, the policy calls for prosecution even on carboxy-THC, taking full advantage of the zero-tolerance law, says assistant city prosecutor Beth Barnes.

Arizona's medical-pot law, which allows qualified patients to legally possess pot, "provides no defense" for impaired drivers, Barnes says.

The 2010 law states specifically that driving under the influence of marijuana is prohibited, but it adds that patients can't be considered under the influence "solely because of the presence of metabolites . . . that appear in insufficient concentration to cause impairment."

Jamie Peachey
Tad Zaccard of Mesa worries he'll be convicted of DUI after a December traffic stop simply because he uses medical pot.
Tad Zaccard of Mesa worries he'll be convicted of DUI after a December traffic stop simply because he uses medical pot.

Barnes says her office doesn't prosecute people "solely" because of the presence of metabolites. Impairment always is alleged in these cases, she explains, and they involve at least two charges: driving while impaired and driving with drug metabolites. Driving behavior, visual clues of impairment by an officer, and performance on the field test also are taken into account.

Although state law contains an exception to the metabolites provision for people with a valid prescription for the offending drug, the medical-pot law has doctors recommending marijuana for various conditions, not prescribing it.

This provides a loophole that makes it easier for prosecutors to get convictions for doctor-recommended marijuana, but not, say, doctor-prescribed Xanax or oxycodone, which may well be worse for drivers.

Admitting to having a medical-pot card during a traffic stop might even be considered one more piece of evidence in a marijuana-DUI investigation, police tell New Times.

Munoz agrees: "These medical-marijuana cards are all DUI time bombs."

Unless the Arizona Supreme Court changes the zero-tolerance law, marijuana users in this state — even motorists passing through — should keep in mind that a conviction for DUI may be one traffic stop away.

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43 comments
valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

The fact that X percentage of drivers involved in accidents have pot in their systems is not evidence that pot played any role at all in causing those accidents.


Nearly every driver involved in accidents during the morning commute has caffeine in their system, but we don't prosecute them for driving under the influence of coffee.

bigrobstercraws
bigrobstercraws

This law is really messed up.  I got a sober DUI last week.  I have a medical card.  I just got done walking my dog for 1.5 miles, running about 3 and hitting the gym.  Then I showered and got behind the wheel.  No way was I impaired.  I wasn't high, buzzed or anything.  I've been toking for decades, every day. So my blood is gonna be positive.  I was an idiot who agreed to the FST because here I am stone-cold sober, thinking I'll just show them I'm sober.  F'n BS law.

someguy111
someguy111

Yep its another bullshit pot law.  The truth is they have no way to know when the last time you smoked was or if you are impaired.  They can only pull blood which could show a joint smoked two weeks ago.  Its not the same as alcohol and shouldnt be treated the same way with testing.  I feel bad for anyone dealing with these totally unjust laws.  For fucks sake its a plant, im not hurting anymore, so just leave us the fuck alone.

BuddJones
BuddJones

Cannabis can be planted outdoors under the Sun, either on natural soil or in pots of pre-made or commercial soil. Of course some strains are better than others for outdoor cultivation. One strain is not the same as the other and some is just more suitable for your garden than others. This can of course depend on different conditions, variables and aspects. Outdoor marijuana strains, like most other strains, can be bought basically anywhere and there are hundreds of different cannabis strains that are bred for outdoor growing, or at least claimed to be so. A lot of these outdoor cannabis seeds are simply copies of other already existing strains or seeds and have just been given a different name or a nice and interesting sounding description.

kwhittington33
kwhittington33

this same exact thing has happend to me. I had smoked a joint a day before getting pulled over and just like the report says if a "D.R.E." officer pulls you over and they can prove you have any type of metabolite in your system then your basically screwed. I have had to pay THOUSANDS of dollars to the state of Arizona for getting a DUI plus since I am a MMJ patient they couldnt charge me with any marijuana related crimes so after charging me with not only a DUI i was required to take Substance abuse classes and a MADD (mothers against DRUNK driving) course. Also what the report doesnt mention is that in AZ once you are charged with any type of DUI you are required to have a Breathalyzer installed in your vehicle for a YEAR! (average 100$/ month) AZ is a police state and anyone that says otherwise needs to get their heads checked.

traveller67
traveller67

"Paper Please" law, armed posse at schools, zero-tolerance on pot DUI - sounds like a police state to me.

theglassfish13
theglassfish13

My nephew, who is not a patient, is still going to be convicted of a dui for pot, even though he was sober.  He was involved in an accident on his way home from school that was not his fault.  He was sober, but had smoked a joint two days before to celebrate a new job.  After the accident, the police determined he was impaired "to the slighest degree" pupils slightly dialated, and had trouble with field test.  (later, the blood results showed he was completely sober, and had only trace cannibinoids in his blood, showing he was telling the truth) .  His "impairment" was caused by getting punched in the face with an airbag after getting in his first accident, and he was frazzled.  He was offered no medical assistance, and was instead arrested, despite the accident being the other drivers fault.  

Our laws definately need to be reformed.  His life will be altered forever, and he is a good kid, didn't even do the crime he will be convicted of.  AZ sucks!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

*** Cities can BAN Pot Shops, State Supreme Court rules ***

The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that cities and counties can ban medical marijuana dispensaries, a decision likely to further diminish the network of storefront pot shops.

In a unanimous opinion, the court held that California’s medical marijuana laws — the nation’s first and most liberal — neither prevent local governments from using their land-use powers to zone dispensaries out of existence nor grant authorized users convenient access to the drug.

The ruling came in a legal challenge to a ban enacted by the city of Riverside in 2010, but 200 other jurisdictions have similar prohibitions on retail pot sales, the advocacy group Americans for Safe Access estimates.

Of the 18 states that allow the medical use of marijuana, California is the only one where residents can obtain a doctor’s recommendation to consume it for any ailment the physician sees fit as opposed to only for conditions such as AIDS and glaucoma.

...

Coinspinner
Coinspinner

When I come home from work, it's the aggressive drivers causing all the dangers and issues.   Why aren't you screaming for new aggressive-driving laws?

Coinspinner
Coinspinner

Why do insurance company assure us there are no issues with stoned drivers?  Shouldn't they know?

Coinspinner
Coinspinner

Republicans fight the Feds on guns, abortion, prayer, immigration, but try to legalize marijuana and suddenly they say "whoa, can't do that because of Federal law!" 


Total hypocrites, it's disgusting.

FRONTERA
FRONTERA

How quickly Monty has forgotten about what happened to the last County Attorney .

irq77
irq77

There's a lot of information in that article.  Thank you Ray.  :)

cennrenn
cennrenn

Dude come on man, a little pot never hurt anyone.


www.Total-Anon.tk

Trommy
Trommy

What is the deal with this County Attourney.  Does he not have access to any scientific studies or is it he just hates anyone who isn't like him.  I wonder if he keeps some pain pills around for you know when he might need them.  I have never seen anyone who acts so intense unless they are covering something up about themselves.  Makes you wonder!

williamwhittenburg
williamwhittenburg

@Trommy well ya he runs the illegal drug trade making sure to let his people go with a wrist slap while putting the competition in jail 

logicman
logicman

I don't like the idea of stoned drivers out there but this is a little ridiculous.  

Flyer9753
Flyer9753

@DonkeyHotay @Flyer9753  

You are quoting a 'study' (and I use that term very loosely here) done by a TV station, that is NOT scientifically done, has no idea whatever else the participant was on (they only checked for MJ prior to the test, nothing else), was not done in a controlled manner, was done with a very small test group (only 3 people) and only 1 "expert" that we do not know they qualifications as your source????

ROFLMFAO!!!!!! What an idiot - come back to me when it's an ACTUAL test and not a show being put on to get people to watch their 'news' station.

As I have said, I do not advocate anyone driving inebriated on anything, but c'mon, citing this as an actual test with real world scientific and accurate results is just stupid.

Come back to me with an actual test correctly done and we'll talk, until then, I will stick with the real studies done on an actual representative test group, done by scientists and LEO's who know how to do a proper study instead of this propaganda.

cassityg32
cassityg32

Of course but drink yourself into a stuper & you can drive the next morning...by law. Oh & lets let all elelderly drive w/o regular or more frequent driving tests regardless of the meds they may be on or disability same a half

judgeharoldlee
judgeharoldlee

It is typical of right wing dingbats and pretentious politicos like Bill Montgomery, who incessantly bemoan the Feds impinging on State powers. Yet, these same two-faced political whores want to take over control of federal immigration law. While, in the same breath they fight to overthrow the will of State voters , who have thrice voted to allow access to medical marijuana. State's right's my ass you dictatorial dicks

bobsaccount
bobsaccount

I listened to the guy's online radio show.  The Eagels and Phil Collins.   And he calls it "Psychedelic."  Guilty as charged!

lhaskie
lhaskie

Please note that Tad's radio website is waxtraxradio.com

bass24
bass24

certified drug-recognition experts" You must mean cops that profile people and besides people that are drunk drive like there is no tomorrow and care free step on the gas. A stoned person will drive way more cautious slow and concentrate on driving.

Sounds  like they knew that Zaccard and targeted him. Come on Cops your breaking the law pulling people over for no reason! and lying that Zaccard was impared.

I hope he sues for damages.

teknik
teknik

I've heard the cops will pull so s BS about your toungesppearing green.I can tell you one could sit down and smoke up a 1/4 oz or eat a dozen highly medicated cookies and your toungesppearing is not going to turn green.the simple fact that the cops lie and this lie can be proven should have this tossed as a cop looking to make a bust regardless of the actual state the person is in.smoking cannabis does not, nor does eating cannabis nor has it ever made one's tongue appear green.

MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

MontyPug, the joke of Nazicopa County.

Persecuting sick folks because of trace amounts of THC?! Why did voters even bother passing this law? All it does is give MontyPug (who kept Peter Spaw on taxpayers teat despite confessing to Constitutional violations and abuse of power) a license to put people in jail.

bobunf
bobunf

This nonsense (convicting people driving while impaired by marijuana when they are very obviously not  impaired by marijuana) is possible only because of the utter neutering of the Grand Jury.  This institution (enshrined in our 5th Amendment) came to us from England.  It's purpose was to protect Englishmen from a King's ability to charge people for no good reason. It was a screen between accusation and indictment.  

Here in Arizona in the 21st century we have the perfect example of the need for this institution.  But it hardly exists.  The only people on a Grand Jury are those who can take significant time away from work and family obligations for essentially no pay for a period of four months.  This is a select group who tend to be older, less emphatic and less informed.  

And then, let not any member of the Grand Jury express any doubt about interpretation of law, the process, nor anything detrimental to the prosecutor.  Removal is always an option for the powers that be.  

Only a majority vote is required for indictment.  Neither the accused nor his attorney have any right to appear, and almost never is that rule waived.  No contrary or conflicting evidence is ever presented, except by accident.  The Grand Jury knows nothing but what they are permitted to hear by the prosecutor.  

One consequence of the neutering of the Grand Jury is that prosecutors like Bill Montgomery are able to promote these types of obvious injustice.

Flyer9753
Flyer9753

Arizona and the other states that allow medical or recreational MJ use needs to wake up to the scientific realities.

Oh, wait.. teabagger state so science is a four letter word here....

marcy
marcy

You have the right to remain silent, use that right and stop thinking you are obligated in ANY way to tell a cop that you smoked pot, are or are not sober, did or did not have a drink, etc.  You have the right to NOT take a field sobriety test and only a fool takes a field sobriety test.  It is NOT a test that will be used to prove you are sober but is a test used to collect evidence, usually subjective evidence, that you are impaired.

Once you have admitted to having had a drink or smoked pot you have given the cop probable cause to draw your blood.

Shut up and your chances of staying out of jail are a lot better.

As for morons like Montgomery, if it is difficult to prove someone is impaired due to pot that does not mean the burden of proof should be dropped to nothing, if you can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone is impaired on pot then you have no business arresting and prosecuting them.

If the Arizona Supreme Court doesn't see this as an end run around the medical pot law, it is time for another voter initiative.

 
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