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Soft drug decriminalization does not extend to driving

On Behalf of | Jul 21, 2021 | Drunk Driving

You have probably heard “Do not drink and drive,” but what about “Do not smoke and drive?” As an increasing number of states relax laws on recreational soft drugs like cannabis, this question is becoming more relevant. This is because drugged driving is leading to more DUI charges.

In Pennsylvania, several cities have decriminalized possession of small amounts of cannabis, and there is pending legislation to take decriminalization to the state level. With that said, looser restrictions on soft drug consumption do not apply if individuals decide to drive a motor vehicle.

Soft drug decriminalization

Across the United States, 18 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized cannabis for recreational purposes, and 37 states have legalized the medicinal use. Although Pennsylvania has not fully legalized recreational use of this common soft drug, the law does permit medicinal use. In addition, several cities have passed decriminalization laws that prevent criminal charges.

Pennsylvania DUI laws

Despite the state’s acceptance of soft drug possession in certain circumstances, consuming while driving is still illegal. According to Pennsylvania law, police officers can charge anyone who drives under the influence of a Schedule I substance with a DUI. As of now, cannabis remains Schedule I, so even with state-level decriminalization, driving under the influence could still result in a DUI.

If you are a Pennsylvania resident who is looking forward to the relaxing of long-time prohibitions on soft drugs like cannabis, keeping your consumption and driving activities separate is the best way to avoid any unwanted legal trouble.