How could medicinal marijuana lead to a DUI charge in Florida?

On Behalf of | Jun 6, 2022 | DUI

Recreational use of marijuana remains unlawful in Florida. As reported by, several attempts to legalize cannabis for recreational purposes have failed in the senate. Residents with a valid doctor’s prescription may, however, continue using medicinal marijuana.

Although you may have a lawful medical marijuana prescription, you could still face a DUI charge. Florida law authorizes officers to file DUI charges against motorists who appear impaired even when it results from a legal prescription.

Medical marijuana may cause you to show signs of impairment

As noted by, Florida law views impairment from medications the same as impairment by alcohol. Whether caused by medicinal cannabis, alcohol or prescribed pain killers, impaired motorists may show similar symptoms.

An officer may suspect impairment when observing a motorist swerving or driving erratically. If a driver shows poor eye-hand coordination or difficulty remaining focused when pulled over, the officer may request a standard field sobriety test. The standard procedure may include a balance, horizontal gaze and “walk-and-turn” test.

Field-use chemical sobriety tests may not prove marijuana intoxication by THC levels

According to the National Institution of Justice, researchers found that the amount of THC in an individual’s biofluids may not indicate marijuana intoxication. A field-use chemical test device may not provide THC readings that prove impairment. An officer who observes visible signs of impairment during a traffic stop, however, may have sufficient cause for a DUI charge.

The Florida Legislature notes that qualifying health conditions may allow medicinal marijuana use. Despite having lawful prescriptions, however, Florida’s laws allow officers to arrest and charge drivers with DUI when they visibly fail non-chemical field sobriety tests.