The Arizona Medical Marijuana Act (AMMA) is operated by the Arizona Department of Health Services and allows qualifying patients to use and possess marijuana. A qualifying patient is a person diagnosed and certified by a doctor as having a qualifying medical condition and issued an Arizona Medical Marijuana Registry ID Card.
In Arizona, a medical marijuana card is only an affirmative defense to one of the marijuana DUI charges. To the zero tolerance charge, under A.R.S. 1381(A)(1), having a marijuana card is not a defense; however, you can still argue that you weren’t impaired. Arizona DUI law has zero tolerance for driving while impaired by marijuana; it doesn’t matter if the driver had a card. The medical marijuana card does provide an AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE to the drugged driving charge under 1381(A)(3).
Under the medical marijuana DUI defense, you may have active, therapeutic levels of marijuana in your system, so long as it’s not impairing you while driving. Unfortunately, this burden is on the Defendant. As such, the Defendant either needs to testify on his use of marijuana, or use an expert witness to discuss the theoretical effects of the alleged marijuana in the defendant’s body.