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High-ly inappropriate driving: Why you shouldn't drive on medical marijuana

In the state of Florida, it is not legal to recreationally us marijuana, but a law was passed that you are able to use it for medical purposes. You are required a prescription from a licensed doctor and need to provide information to acquire permission and receive a state issued medical marijuana card. That said, you also cannot drive while under the influence of medical marijuana. Just like alcohol, marijuana impaired driving affects your judgement and it is not advised to drive after consuming the flower. It does not matter in what form you consume your prescription, you will be arrested and given a DUI charge.

medical marijuana

What are some driving skills that marijuana affects?

Many have said they are more in control of their body while consuming medical marijuana, regardless of how it makes you feel, it is still altering the chemicals in your brain. Unlike alcohol, the consumption of medical marijuana heightens your senses and makes you extremely aware of your surroundings. For example, if someone from the far lane comes out of nowhere because of your extreme awareness you are going to want to move out of the way but because you are so focused on that negligent driver, it may cause you to forget the other drivers on the road. While we hope this does not happen at all, in this situation you could potentially cause a car accident for these reasons and numerous others.

The Different Strains of Marijuana

There are different strains of medical marijuana that will have different effects on the body. Some strains make you really energized while others can make you extremely tired.

Sativa strains have a history of making people feel euphoric and have a false sense of reality. Some people feel like they can take on the world but it's important to realize you are not Batman or Superman, so there are some things you just can’t do. Even if those Marvel or DC characters did use medical marijuana, they would know that can not fly or fight under the influence. This is no different when it comes to impaired driving due to medical marijuana.

Then there are strains that will have you stuck “in the couch” as many people described it. That strain is called Indica. People who use medical marijuana have trouble sleeping so when they place their order, they request Indica to help with sleep, muscle pain, anxiety, and stress. So, that goes without saying, it WILL make you tired and DO NOT drive while under the influence of ANY medical marijuana.

What happens when you are caught driving impaired driving high?

According to they explain “Driving while under the influence of marijuana in Florida falls under Drugged Driving. That means that if you’re caught driving high in Florida, you’ll face the same penalties as someone driving while drunk or under the influence of other controlled substances. Your First Offense is punishable with a fine of $500 to $1,000 and up to 6 months of jail time. Your license will also be suspended for 180 days to a year. Your Second Offense is punishable with a fine of $1,000 to $2,000 and up to 9 months of jail time. Your Third Offense is considered a felony and can net you up to a $5,000 fine and up to 5 years in jail. Police have the right to search you and carry out urine and/or blood tests if they believe you’re under the influence of controlled substances, and refusal to do so is a first-degree misdemeanor. Police may become suspicious if they notice open containers of marijuana in your car if you’re driving recklessly, or if they smell marijuana in your car.”

If you are worried about the distinctive odor that permeates after use, the best way to eliminate it is to not do it at all in your vehicle. Another thing about transporting medical marijuana is that, yes, you can use your medical card in another state, but you CANNOT cross state lines as you “technically” would be drug trafficking as the rules vary from state to state.

How long can marijuana affect most people?

When you consume medical marijuana, the chemical called THC will remain in your system for a certain amount of time. For someone who does it every so often it will remain in their system for about three to four days as opposed to a frequent user where it will stay in their system for a few weeks. Fortunately, most medical marijuana users will not have to worry too much about drug tests and testing positive since they are consuming the drug legally. Make sure to keep your medical card on you so that during an encounter with law enforcement you are protected.

It is also important to note that the effects of medical marijuana lasts in your system for a few hours and then wears away. But to operate a vehicle you will be fully sober and alert, so if you have just consumed any medical marijuana wait it out, watch a movie, take a nap, eat some food, call a friend, but do not drive or operate any heavy machinery while on this substance.

In addition to operating heavy machinery, we do not advise using medical marijuana before or during work, regardless of if you drove yourself to the workplace yourself. Accidents do occur even in our sober state, so if you think if you can think really hard, accidents are still susceptible to happen. If you were to cause an accident on the work floor and you are suspected of being intoxicated, they will drug test you to find you liable for the accident, making you the one to handle any responsibilities resulting from the accident.

We advise that you check the laws in your jurisdiction, as each jurisdiction has different rules and/or leniencies.

According to, they state “Despite penalties at the state and federal level, some Florida jurisdictions are electing to issue more lenient penalties. For instance, the city of Orlando encourages its officers to write citations rather than arrest suspects. Citations typically amount to a $100 fine for first-time offenders, a $200 fine for second-time offenders, and a $500 fine for subsequent offenses. However, residents should be aware that agreeing to pay a citation could technically lead to an admission of guilt, and an addition to your criminal record. The jurisdictions where citations are currently being issued include Orlando, Tampa, Miami-Dade County, and Key West. Floridians are advised to make sure that their jurisdiction is one that issues citations for cannabis possession before taking their chances with law enforcement.”

Drivers under the influence of medical marijuana can experience a skewed reaction time, limited short-term memory functions, decreased hand-eye coordination, weakened concentration, and difficulty perceiving time and distance. As opposed to alcohol, medical marijuana is not a specific limit of impairment, but regardless of your motor skills as well as the previously stated effects can and will influence you.

What are some statistics on medical marijuana usage and reckless driving?

Since medical marijuana is a fairly recent permitted substance in Florida, there are a lot of unknown rules and restrictions on the use of the substance. For example, sharing the product or trying it out with friends is actually an illegal act. While we are usually taught that sharing is caring, in this case, it can actually get you in a lot of legal trouble. If you further analyze the situation, you are basically sharing a prescription with someone. Just like with any other drug, two people could have the same diagnosis but may need a different dose of the medication they need or a different medication entirely.

Each person is different and not everyone reacts to the dosages and medications the same, as a precaution the laws have been put in place to protect people from the uncertain possibilities of a reaction.

According to,, they stated “In a statewide survey conducted in early 2018, more than one in three (36.5%) respondents said that they are “not at all knowledgeable” about legal issues related to marijuana use and driving in Florida. Overall, about two in three (65.7%) respondents correctly said it is true that driving under the influence of marijuana is always illegal in Florida. Nearly one in four (23.2%) respondents were unsure of whether driving under the influence of marijuana is always illegal in Florida.”

Since we don’t want anyone to be another one of those statistics, we are here to inform you on everything you should know relating to the usage of medical marijuana. In 2017 there were more than 43,000 DUI arrests in Florida. Check the label warnings on any medicinal products, prescription, and over-the-counter medication because if you mix it with something it could have a bad reaction.

Drug-impaired driving can lead to death, some patients on medical marijuana, get easily distracted by their surroundings and sometimes by the passengers in their vehicle. Make sure that when you get into a vehicle whether it is you operating it or a friend or family member, that whoever is in operation, they too must be sober. Medical marijuana isn’t the only prescription drug that you should be cautious of when you are planning to operate any kind of motor vehicle. Check the label every single time.

What are some differences between drunk drivers and drivers who drive high?

The main difference is they are different substances, but they both have very negative effects on your driving skill. Either way, if you tested positive for either substance by highway safety councils you are going to be in a heap of trouble.

Both marijuana and alcohol change your perception decrease coordination, and increase your risk of getting into an accident. While more states are open to the usage of medical marijuana it is important now more than ever to be a sober driver.

Since the issue of marijuana specifically is a relatively new one and differs from state to state. In fact, the congressional research service reports that "various aspects of the issue of marijuana-impaired driving, including patterns of marijuana use, the relationship and detection of marijuana use and driver impairment, and related state law and law enforcement challenges.

How can a personal injury attorney help me with my case?

While the National highway traffic safety administration has released statistics on number of driving under the influence of marijuana. Not every impaired driver is aware of the rules or the effects that the drug can have on your driving performance. That's why if you have been in an accident with a driver who was under the influence you should contact us.

Demesmin and Dover Law Firm is a personal injury law firm with a steadfast commitment to protecting your rights and pursuing justice, we are here to provide unwavering support during your time of need. From car accidents and slip-and-fall incidents to medical malpractice cases we have the expertise and are dedicated to getting you the compensation you deserve, call 866- 954- MORE (6673) Because to us, it's personal.


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