HARRISBURG – A bill introduced this week by Senator Camera Bartolotta (R-46) would remove driving under the influence (DUI) penalties related to the legal use of medical cannabis.
Pennsylvania legalized the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes in 2018 for patients who suffer from chronic illness. However, the state’s DUI laws do not differentiate between legal medical cannabis use and impairment due to alcohol or controlled substances.
As a result, medical cannabis patients can face DUI penalties resulting solely from the use of a legally prescribed substance that does not actually impair drivers.
Bartolotta’s bill – which was created in cooperation with patients, attorneys, and the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association – would amend Pennsylvania’s DUI law to require proof of actual impairment. The bill would prevent patients from being arrested and prosecuted for legally using medical cannabis that does not affect a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle.
“We need to ensure that the legal use of this medicine does not give rise to a criminal conviction,” Bartolotta said. “Patients fought tooth and nail for years to see the use of medical cannabis legalized to treat a variety of terrible health conditions. They should have the peace of mind to know that they will not be punished later for using their prescriptions responsibly.”
CONTACT: Colleen Greer (717) 787-1463