Georgia DUI Law Found Unconstitutional!

Georgia DUI Law Found Unconstitutional!
Posted by FoM on June 11, 1999 at 05:32:14 PT
Source: NORML
Atlanta, GA A state statute criminalizing recreational marijuana smokers who drive with trace levels of nonpsychoactive metabolites in their system is unconstitutional because it exempts medical marijuana users from prosecution, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled.
The Court unanimously found that the law violates constitutional equal protection rights by exempting prescription users of the drug even though the drug's effects are the same for recreational users. "We are unable to hold that the legislative distinction between sanctioned and unsanctioned users of marijuana is directly related to the public safety purpose of the legislation," Chief Justice Robert Benham determined. "We conclude that the distinction is arbitrarily drawn, and the statute is an unconditional denial of equal protection."   Georgia is one of several states that allow patients to legally use marijuana if they are participating in a state research program. The program, which distributed marijuana cigarettes to cancer patients in the early 1980s, is now dormant.   The Court found no equal protection problem with the fact that the law penalized unimpaired drivers with traces of marijuana metabolites in their system because it served a legitimate state interest. "We conclude that a statute which makes it unlawful to drive while marijuana residue is circulating in the driver's body fluids bears a rational relationship to a legitimate state purpose -- protection of the public," it determined.   Marijuana metabolites, nonpsychoactive compounds produced from chemical changes of the drug in the body, are detectable by urinalysis for days or even weeks after past consumption. The presence of marijuana metabolites on a drug test does not indicate impairment, frequency, recency, or amount of drug use.   NORML Executive Director R. Keith Stroup, Esq. questioned the Court's reasoning. "While the outcome is laudable, we were disappointed the Court held that unimpaired drivers who test positive for trace amounts of marijuana metabolites may be treated differently than other unimpaired drivers," he said.   Several states have laws allowing police to charge individuals with driving under the influence if a drug test detects any amount of drug metabolites in a person's bodily fluids.   For more information, please contact Keith Stroup of NORML   (202) 483-5500 or David Clark, Esq., who handled the case,   (770) 338-2338. A summary of the decision, Love v. State, is available online at:
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on June 11, 1999 at 10:21:02 PT
Maybe we should move to Georgia or Canada? You never know where a person might retire when the time comes! I hope the laws are changed before I get that old! LOL!Peace, FoM!
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Comment #1 posted by oldlady#420 on June 11, 1999 at 08:09:58 PT
Well, See you learn something everyday. My neighboring state is a tad more liberal by allowing people to participate in a state research program. I found this to be quite interesting to say the least. Ah, well but the Canadians seem to really have it going on...Shalom, ol420 
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