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Important Information Regarding Medical Marijuana Use and Field Sobriety Tests

In 2013, the governor of Illinois signed into law an act titled "The Compassionate use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act." This act provided an alternative form of treatment for individuals suffering from serious diseases such as cancer, HIV, and glaucoma. While many people use medical marijuana as a form a relief from the painful symptoms associated with their disease, it is important that people understand that there are rules regarding the use of this marijuana, specifically when it relates to driving.

For those people with cards, there are implications that could necessitate the performance of field sobriety tests and it is important that people comply with the requests of law enforcement. Failure to comply could result in serious consequences.

Marijuana Still Impairs the Ability to Drive

While medical marijuana does help people deal with their disease, it still has negative impacts when it relates to driving and operating heavy machinery. Medical marijuana slows people's reflexes. This makes it difficult to take evasive action to avoid obstacles on the road, such as pedestrians, other cars, and stationary objects. Therefore, improper use of medical marijuana can make driving while using medical marijuana a potential hazard to other people on the road. Law enforcement officials have ways of assessing whether or not someone is driving while under the influence.

Implications of Medical Marijuana and Sobriety

When a law enforcement official suspects that someone is driving under the influence, this could lead to field sobriety tests being administered. A law enforcement official could pull someone over for running a red light and realize that the driver is under the influence. An officer could also arrive at a scene of an accident and realize that someone might be under the influence. Regardless, the next step would be to test someone's sobriety.

When it comes to medical marijuana, this will involve a series of mental and physical tasks to test someone's sobriety. This could include the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk and turn test, or the one-leg stand test. There are even chemical tests that some officers will employ. If someone is deemed under the influence, this could be enough cause to arrest the individual in question.

Failure to Comply with Sobriety Tests Has Serious Consequences

There are many reasons why someone might refuse to take a field sobriety test. Some people fervently believe they haven't done anything wrong. Other people are afraid of failing due to physical issues or fear of getting caught. Regardless of the reason, medical card holders must comply with the officer's demands to take a field sobriety test or risk losing their cards. Other people still have the choice to take the test or not. 

Failure to comply with the sobriety test request could result in immediate revocation of a medical marijuana card and the state of Illinois will immediately cancel the card electronically. While medical marijuana does have its benefits for relieving serious symptoms, it does have its effects when it comes to operating heavy machinery. Regardless of the circumstances, people using medical marijuana should comply with a field sobriety test or risk losing their medical marijuana card.

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