Can You Get a CBD DUI in Arizona?

cbd duiCannabidiol, commonly referred to as CBD, is all the rage these days.  Derived from marijuana and hemp, CBD really does have the potential to reduce pain and improve health and wellness.  Unfortunately, CBD is a lightning rod for controversy as marijuana is still illegal on the federal level.  The general public is unaware of whether those who use CBD can be charged with a DUI for good reason as this is somewhat of a grey area of the law.

Why CBD is Available to the Masses

CBD is a compound from marijuana yet it does not produce a psychedelic high.  Those who use CBD are typically in search of pain relief.  Scientific studies show CBD really does help treat an array of ailments ranging from epilepsy to anxiety disorders, inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.  This is exactly why federal law permits the use of CBD sourced from hemp.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of medication containing CBD, forcing the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to reschedule CBD.  The compound had been classified as a Schedule I substance.  Today, CBD is classified as Schedule V as it has been formally recognized as a substance that has minimal potential for abuse yet considerable potential for medical use.

CBD and Driving

CBD does not impair one’s ability to drive as it does not cause an individual to feel high.  Rather, CBD relieves pain and promotes general well-being.  Therefore, CBD should not spur a DUI offense as the driver is not driving under the influence of anything that causes impairment.  Unfortunately, there is still a chance law enforcement will have solid legal footing to charge those who use CBD prior to or while driving.  This means it might be safer to stop using CBD prior to driving or while driving considering the current law.  The last think you want to worry about is the drama involved with a DUI case.

CBD and Arizona Law

Arizona’s Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) legalized medical marijuana nearly a decade ago.  As expected, prosecutors pushed back on the issue of marijuana extracts due to semantics in the legislation.  The wording pertaining to CBD extracted from marijuana was somewhat confusing.  Judge Katherine Cooper formally decided extracts derived from marijuana are legal based on the AMMA’s language.  It is particularly interesting to note Judge Dale Nielson ruled against the use of these extracts only to subsequently change his mind months later.

Arizona law states it is illegal to drive when even a tiny amount of an illegal drug as defined by Title 13-3401 is in the driver’s system.  The law states all resin extracted from marijuana (CBD being one of them) is grounds for a DUI charge.  Yet it is possible for CBD products to be made from cannabis plant stalks that are not officially defined as cannabis per Title 13-3401.

To Drive or not to Drive After Taking CBD?  That is the Question

The bottom line is the legality of using CBD derived from marijuana is dubious.  This is precisely why those interested in CBD but worried about being pulled over and charged with a DUI favor CBD from hemp as opposed to marijuana.  There is no way for law enforcement to determine which part of the cannabis plant certain CBD products are made from.  Even if a drug test is administered, CBD probably won’t show up unless you ingested a high amount.

At the moment, neither law enforcement nor those who rely on CBD for pain relief are happy with this grey area of the law.  When in doubt, it is better to be safe rather than sorry.  Try to avoid driving after using CBD.  If you are charged with a DUI as a result of using CBD, obtain assistance from legal counsel as soon as possible.

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