April 10 – SACRAMENTO – Norma Torres’ zero-tolerance DUID bill AB 2552 has been amended so as to no longer apply specifically to marijuana, but to any non-medical use of controlled substances.
The revised bill would make it: “unlawful for a person who has a detectable amount of any controlled substance identified in Section 11550 of the Health and Safety Code to drive a vehicle and concurrently to do any act forbidden by law or neglect any duty imposed by law in driving the vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than the driver except when the controlled substance was administered, dispensed, or prescribed by a person licensed by the state to administer, dispense, or prescribe controlled substances.”
The bill would appear to apply to medical use of marijuana, since MMJ is not “administered, dispensed or prescribed” by state-licensed professionals.
Unlike the original bill, this version does not mention non-psychoactive metabolites, so presumably it would apply only when active drug residues were detected.
The bill essentially sets a double standard for DUI prosecutions. If an accident is caused due to impairment by prescribed drugs, the driver is NOT automatically considered DUI, even if s/he was grossly impaired; if on the other hand an accident is occurs and the driver happens to have detectable drug traces that were in no way impairing, s/he is considered DUI.
The revised bill arbitrarily assumes that non-RX drug use is impairing, and RX drug use is not, a blatantly false assumption. The major impact of this bill seems to be to further criminalize users of non-politically-approved drugs, apparently including medical marijuana.
Cal NORML will be contacting the committee in continued opposition to this bill and its amendments.
– D. Gieringer