In Connecticut, individuals with specific conditions can receive medical marijuana from state dispensaries. According to the Department of Consumer Protection, these individuals must properly register with the state in order to receive access to dispensaries.

Yet, the right to legally use medical marijuana in Connecticut does not give individuals the right to drive while under the influence of the drug. The Supreme Court recently ruled that medical marijuana cardholders will not receive immunity from their state’s DUI laws. This means that even if you have a medical marijuana card in your possession, you can still be charged with a DUI in Connecticut, if an officer believes you are driving impaired.

Despite this ruling, individuals who have been charged with a DUI for marijuana use are wise to seek the counsel of  DUI lawyer Melocowsky & Melocowsky in Hartford CT. Individuals have the right to prove in court that the amount of drug they had in their bodies did not constitute an amount that would result in impairment. The Supreme Court ruling, while not exempting medical marijuana users from DUI laws, protects medical marijuana users from outright conviction if they admit to using the drug for medical reasons before driving.

A qualified lawyer can review the circumstances of your case and determine the levels of marijuana in your system. Many medical marijuana users take an amount to ease pain and anxiety and therefore there are many ways a DUI defense lawyer can show that a medical marijuana patient was not impaired.

The Connecticut Post explains that DUI lawyers may have to increasingly rely on expert testimony to show how marijuana affects a patient cognitively. Impairment is also a subjective term. Weight, diet, and a person’s physiology can impact how much marijuana must be consumed before the patient is impaired. Every person’s response to the drug is also unique. It is not entirely clear what standards the court will set to constitute impairment, and officers will likely rely on sometimes unreliable roadside tests. These tests can be compromised if a patient is suffering from an ailment like Parkinson’s which is one condition for which patients use medical marijuana. Certain conditions, for instance, can affect a person’s ability to walk in a straight line, or may affect a person’s eye movements. Both of these physiological reactions are tested by officers to determine probable cause for DUI arrest.

At the end of the day, the burden of proof will fall on medical marijuana patients to prove that they were not impaired. The good news is that individuals won’t be considered guilty just because they admit to smoking before driving. However, the onus of proof will be on the driver and their DUI lawyers to prove that the amount of drug in the person’s system was not sufficient to interfere with driving.

Individuals who are found guilty of a DUI in Hartford, Connecticut face jail time, fines, and license suspension of up to one year. Because the consequences are so serious, individuals who have been charged with a DUI are wise to seek the counsel of a law firm like Melocowsky & Melocowsky.

Call Steve Melocowsky at 860-633-6356 or visit the website at