When people think about a DUI in Missouri, they are usually referring to alcohol. But any drug that causes impairment, including over-the-counter and prescribed medications, can lead to a DUI charge. This includes medical cannabis, even if you have a valid medical cannabis patient card in Missouri.
Missouri legalized medical cannabis in 2018, and there are currently over 175,000 active medical cannabis patients in the state. Many people with medical cannabis cards in Missouri think they are doing everything right within the law, but they can still be charged with a cannabis DUI.
Can I Get a Cannabis DUI With a Medical Card in Missouri?
Yes! Even if you have a medical cannabis card in Missouri, you can still be charged with a cannabis DUI.
According to the state of Missouri, a medical cannabis card “does not offer individuals protection from violating laws pertaining to operating a motorized vehicle while under the influence. Nothing in Article XIV permits a person to operate, navigate, or be in actual physical control of any dangerous device or motor vehicle, aircraft, or motorboat while under the influence of marijuana.”
Medical cannabis laws in Missouri only allow for medical cannabis consumption and not recreational use. However, having a medical card in Missouri does not prevent a driver from being charged with a cannabis DUI.
How is a Cannabis DUI Defined in Missouri?
A cannabis DUI is a serious offense in Missouri. In Missouri, a person is guilty of a cannabis DUI if they operate a motor vehicle while in an intoxicated or drugged condition.
If police suspect a driver is impaired, they have the right to require a cannabis drug test. The police may also seek a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE), a specially trained police officer who checks the driver’s vision, balance, pupil dilation, heart rate, and other signs to determine impairment.
Unlike with alcohol DUI charges, there is no legal limit for THC in the bloodstream for drivers in Missouri. Since THC metabolites can linger for days, weeks, or even months after consuming cannabis, drivers could be charged with a cannabis DUI based on the THC in their system from prior medical cannabis consumption, even if they do not feel “high” while driving.
Any kind of medical cannabis can lead to detectable THC in the blood or urine which could lead to a cannabis DUI. This could include flower, vape, edibles, topicals, tinctures, and more.
How To Protect Against a Cannabis DUI Charge in Missouri
The percentage of motor vehicle fatalities involving cannabis in the United States has more than doubled from 9% to about 22% between 2000 and 2018, while fatalities involving alcohol remained stable during the same time frame. The most important part of protecting against a cannabis DUI is to consume responsibly and don’t drive high.
It is important for medical cannabis patients in Missouri to know that if you have a medical cannabis card in the state program, you could still be charged with a cannabis DUI.
A cannabis DUI charge in Missouri is expensive. Cannabis DUI charges disproportionately impact people without the financial resources to defend themselves and access quality legal defense. That is why it is important to consume responsibly, know the facts, and have a proactive legal plan. You deserve quality representation in the event of facing cannabis DUI charges. At reepher, we help cover these and related costs.
Considering that Missouri has no minimum THC threshold for a cannabis DUI conviction, cannabis consumers face serious risks if they drive with the slightest trace of THC in their system. If you’re a medical or recreational cannabis consumer concerned about potential DUI charges, consider what a reepher membership has to offer.