Marijuana prescription no defense in DUI case
Nevada Appeal, December 13, 2006
The Nevada Supreme Court on
Tuesday ruled a doctor's letter recommending medical
marijuana is no defense in a DUI case.
George Peter Lynard was convicted of two counts of
driving under the influence of a controlled substance
causing the death of another person. He was sentenced
to two consecutive terms of up to 20 years each.
But the district court granted his petition for a writ
of habeas corpus, finding his trial lawyer ineffective
for not presenting in evidence that Lynard had a
California prescription for medical marijuana.
The state appealed, arguing a letter from a California
doctor recommending use of marijuana for a medical
condition should not be allowed as a defense to Nevada
Justices Nancy Becker, Ron Parraguirre and James
Hardesty agreed with Washoe district attorneys and
reversed the district court decision.
They pointed out the letter from Lynard's doctor is
not a valid California prescription for a controlled
substance. And, in any event, they said, it isn't a
valid out-of-state prescription.
They also pointed out there is no language in Nevada
law which allows drivers who have valid prescriptions
to drive while impaired.
"Thus, the fact that Lynard may have legally ingested
marijuana in California before the accident was
irrelevant to the DUI counts charged under an
impairment theory," they wrote.