CBD & Cannabis DUI Laws: What To Look Out For

CBD & Cannabis DUI Laws: What To Look Out For

While industrial hemp and its derivatives, like CBD oil, are legal, there is still a lot of uncertainties in how this legalization works with existing laws, such as CBD and DUI. Most states have had forms of cannabis DUI laws on the books for years to better manage those who are caught driving under the influence of marijuana. Unfortunately, since these laws were written when marijuana and industrial hemp were considered the same plant, confusion remains about whether or not using your favorite CBD product can cause you to run afoul of the law.

You should always familiarize yourself with your state’s rules and consult professional legal help if you are facing charges in a court of law. This post is meant as a broad overview of CBD DUI prevention and defense, and should not be construed as legal advice.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol is one of over 100 active compounds called cannabinoids found in hemp. These compounds work with your endocannabinoid system to deliver a desired result. Oil derived from industrial hemp is rich in CBD but low in THC, the active compound in marijuana that gets you high. Under federal law, industrial hemp can have no more than 0.3% THC by weight, in contrast to marijuana, which can have THC concentrations over 100 times higher.

So if CBD won’t get you high, can you still get a CBD DUI?

CBD And The Law

While the 2018 Farm Bill signed into law in December legalized industrial hemp at the federal level, it did not affect state laws governing the use of cannabis inside state boundaries directly. This means that whether or not you can get a CBD DUI is largely determined by the state you are detained in.

The 2014 Farm Bill largely introduced the structure its successor used for cannabis legalization as a way to allow states to form their own pilot programs around legal cannabis. States that opted to pursue this opportunity are more likely to have laws that address hemp-derivatives separately from marijuana. While not an absolute, many of the states with the harshest cannabis DUI laws refused these programs, choosing instead to perpetuate the myth of industrial hemp being equivalent to its illicit cousin.

This condition has left a mish-mash of CBD DUI laws that vary from state to state.

Can You Be Charged With A CBD DUI?

The simplest answer is, yes. In most areas, the police and district attorneys have broad discretion is charging people with a crime. If you are stopped for driving erratically and it is believed to be the result of CBD, you may be arrested for cannabis DUI or cited for a lesser charge, such as operating a motor vehicle in a manner not reasonable or proper. The best way to fight a DUI is to not get charged with DUI in the first place.

Can You Be Found Guilty Of CBD DUI?

A gavel resting on a round sound block

That is a little more iffy. While the police and prosecutor may charge you with any crime they see fit, it falls to a judge or magistrate to determine your actual guilt, and it may hinge on lab results. A drug test is often part of DUI proceedings. Most likely, you will be tested under the same protocols used for marijuana. Currently, the majority of marijuana drug tests don’t look for the actual presence of THC, but rather for metabolites.

Metabolites are chemical compounds left in your body after a particular biological function, in this case, the body’s use of THC, occur. The problem is that metabolites can stick around for a while depending on the half-life of the compound being evaluated and your body composition.

So drug tests for marijuana don’t test whether you’re actively under the influence of THC, but whether you have been under the influence of THC in the previous weeks and months. This metabolite is measured against a certain threshold, with concentrations higher than the threshold generating a positive.

A 0.3% or less THC level would likely not cause a positive on most pre-employment drug screenings, as the threshold is too high and the amount of THC ingested is too low. In a state that has a minimal threshold, or if your body’s metabolism is expelling an inordinate amount of THC metabolite all at once, or if your CBD’s manufacturer was not accurate in using industrial hemp, a test could come back positive.

How To Protect Yourself From A CBD DUI

Here’s how to avoid getting a cannabis DUI:

  • Drive And Use CBD Responsibly - You should always know what you’re putting in your body and how it affects you. If you find, for example, that CBD’s calming effect makes you drowsy, don’t use it before driving a vehicle. Obey all traffic laws, and make sure you’re being safe.
  • Get Your CBD From A Reliable Vendor - Especially if you’re in a No-THC-Tolerance state, only order products that are lab-verified as having 0.0% THC. Look for bottles that are clearly labeled and download the matching lab-results if they’re available (they should be). Demonstrating to law enforcement that you are using no-THC products may be enough to avoid a CBD DUI.
  • Talk To Law Enforcement Respectfully - Be direct, but not rude. It does you no good to create a contentious interaction.
  • Do Not Display Marijuana Imagery - Marijuana and hemp aren’t the same, but after a decades-long smear campaign, plenty of people are still confused. You want police to understand that your CBD is not equivalent to marijuana.
  • Don’t Talk Yourself Into A Ticket - It’s great if you’re a cannabis advocate, but the side of the road may not be the time. Short direct answers to questions are the best.

CBD can be a safe and effective way to promote your health and wellness. Make sure you’re doing it right. If you need help finding high-quality CBD products without the THC that gets you a CBD DUI, order from CBD Choice today.

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