How Maryland DUI Cases Involving Marijuana Are Treated

As a result of the trend towards marijuana legalization across the country, including Maryland, law enforcement officials might need to change the way they judge and enforce drug DUIs. Below, a Maryland Drug DUI lawyer discusses how marijuana-related cases differ from other DUIs and how LEOs may need to change their approach to drug DUIs.

Differences Between Marijuana-Related Cases & Other DUIs

Marijuana-related drug DUI cases are exactly the same as drug DUI cases that involve drugs that are deemed more dangerous by the state. Even though marijuana decriminalized in Maryland, at least for possession of less than 10 grams, driving impaired by marijuana still would be considered a 21-902(d)(1) violation.

One of the differences between cases involving different drugs could be the level of impairment exhibited by the driver. It can be a lot harder to show a significant degree of impairment from marijuana than it might be from heroin, for example, just because marijuana is significantly less impairing than heroin is. When marijuana was decriminalized in Maryland, we actually expected to see a lot more 21-902 D cases with marijuana and those expectations really haven’t been met—at least not after the first year of decriminalization.

It may be fairly safe to say that marijuana DUI cases may be treated less severely because it’s difficult to perceive impairment when marijuana is involved. Sometimes, officers may be less likely to write a DUI marijuana than they are to write a possession of marijuana, for example, or a civil citation, depending on how much the individual had in his or her possession.

How Marijuana Legalization May Affect Way LEOs Look for DUI D

I think we can really look to some of the things that they’ve been doing in Colorado in order to think about the direction that drug DUI enforcement is heading. Colorado has actually established a per se impairment statute with driver’s license penalties for marijuana, and it is reasonable to expect that if Maryland enacts full legalization of marijuana, they may consider implementing something very similar.

As decriminalization and legalization of marijuana become more popular throughout the nation, it is reasonable to expect that marijuana will get a lot more regulated, which will probably result in a lot more arrests for driving while impaired by marijuana than you see in Maryland today just because it’s kind of in limbo. It’s decriminalized, but it’s not codified in law the way alcohol is.