Louisiana House Bill to Make Smoking Cannabis in Vehicles Illegal
Louisiana is looking at a lot of potential changes to the medical marijuana program for 2022, with a slew of bills waiting to be voted on by the House and Senate.
Louisiana started legally selling cannabis in 2019, allowing patients to receive a medical marijuana card for any condition that medical marijuana could help with.
Now that the program is up and running, lawmakers are looking to smooth out the edges by introducing a range of bills that affect the medical marijuana program.
One bill is set to make smoking cannabis while in a moving vehicle illegal for both passengers and drivers. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about House Bill 234.
Isn’t Smoking Cannabis & Driving Illegal?
Driving Under the Influence Is (And Always Has Been) Illegal in Louisiana
Laws are a tricky thing, and both legislators and lawyers are essentially paid to obsess over the tiny details and how they are implicated in courts.
Driving under the influence is illegal in Louisiana, and the penalties are rather steep.
What’s not technically illegal, however, is the act of smoking or vaping medical marijuana in a moving vehicle; House Bill 234 aims to change that.
You might wonder what difference it makes, since driving under the influence is illegal anyway.
The problem arrives when an officer tries to determine sobriety while driving. Although having a lit joint might indicate a driver is intoxicated, it doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing if a passenger is smoking. There’s currently no penalty for actually smoking in a vehicle on the road.
HB234 Would Make Using Cannabis in Vehicle Officially Illegal
HB234 is a small bill whose goal is to make the act of a person smoking cannabis of any kind in a moving vehicle a punishable offense. HB234 includes a fine of up to $100 for the first offense and a non-permanent moving violation for subsequent offenses.
This would effectively allow police officers to pull vehicles over for smoking cannabis in a vehicle and issue a citation for a violation or offense.
While cannabis intoxication testing is still at an unusable stage, this would help minimize the possibility of driving under the influence of cannabis, which on its own is a punishable offense.
The real question about HB234 is how it could possibly be enforced and how law enforcement would use this law as a way to pull over drivers who may otherwise be using a nicotine vape, cigarette, or any other form of smoke, which would be an entirely unnecessary and undesirable exchange.
HB234 Advances to The Senate
HB234 Makes Driving & Smoking Cannabis Illegal, But There’s Some Grey Area
House Bill 234 discusses the prohibition of smoking cannabis in a moving vehicle, considering the boundaries in which a car would be operating on a public road and in which cannabis would be smoked by any occupant.
This may not necessarily apply to smoking cannabis in a stationary vehicle that is not being operated on any public roads. However, it’s tough to say how law enforcement would interpret the bill since the majority of police officers likely don’t read every bill word for word.
It does bring to question how situations like smoking cannabis in your car while in your driveway would be handled, and it’s not quite clear enough to define those specific circumstances.
Is HB234 The Right Approach?
Laws are highly technical and specific proclamations are debated in courts, not between law enforcement and citizens.
It’s common for DWI’s or DUI’s to be debated in court by people who were allegedly sitting in their own driveway while the cars were turned on for A/C.
In the case for cannabis, it’s quite unclear as to how a similar environment would be handled with law enforcement under HB234. At worst, the penalty seems to be just $100.
HB234 unfortunately creates more legal grey area with how a law is implemented and interpreted. This often leads to the necessity of multiple violations and court cases to effectively determine for a community, followed by a sluggish rewrite at the legislative level.
While the act of smoking cannabis while operating a motor vehicle is entirely justifiable, the lack of specificity with HB234 ultimately creates more questions that will land on the shoulders of law enforcement, rather than acting as a bill that would promote safe driving.
Get Your Louisiana Medical Marijuana Certification
Louisiana’s medical marijuana program is available to patients who have a condition that medical marijuana could benefit. Getting your medical marijuana card in Louisiana can be done online from the comfort of your own home! Consult with one of our qualified physicians to determine your eligibility for medical marijuana in Louisiana today!
Getting a medical marijuana card in Louisiana is easier than ever, so beat the lines and get your medical marijuana certification in Louisiana today. You can even get certified for medical marijuana online for ease of use and convenience.
For questions about Louisiana’s medical marijuana program or how to become a medical marijuana patient in Louisiana, consult with one of our trusted doctors and book an online medical marijuana appointment today!
Doctors Who Care.
Relief You Can Trust.
At Louisiana Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce the stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
Call us at (833) 253-2943, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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