(The Center Square) – The Pennsylvania Senate Transportation Committee will be considering a proposal next week to protect medical cannabis users from the state’s “zero tolerance” penalties for disabled drivers.
Main sponsor Sen. Camera Bartolotta, R-Washington, said the state’s DUI law does not distinguish between medical and recreational use of cannabis, putting registered patients at risk of criminal prosecution.
Nearly 368,000 medical cannabis patients are registered in Pennsylvania. according to to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Bartolotta’s proposal Senate Law 167, would change Title 75, the Vehicle Code, to remove medical cannabis from the legal definition of controlled substance and include wording that says, “If the person is a medical marijuana patient in accordance with the provisions of the Medical Marijuana Act “Evidence of actual impairment may be required.”
This is similar to treating drivers found in possession of prescribed drugs, Bartolotta said in a co-sponsorship in December memo. The Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association is among the supporters of the measure.
“Given the very grave consequences of a DUI conviction, my legislation will provide medical cannabis patients with vital protection by ensuring that responsible use of their legal medicine does not result in criminal conviction,” said Bartolotta.
The committee hearing is scheduled for 10.30 a.m. on Tuesday. The committee will also consider proposals to address repeated DUI violations and recent judicial challenges to the state’s DUI law.