Arizona Supreme Court Rules Presence of Inactive Marijuana Components in System Not DUI

In a groundbreaking new ruling, the Arizona Supreme Court has announced that motorists driving with inactive metabolites of marijuana in their system are not at risk of being charged with DUI.

Those inactive compounds of marijuana are called carboxy THC, and these are not psychoactive. Persons who are driving with these metabolites in their system not be at risk of intoxicated driving, and may not show any signs of drunkenness at all. However, in one case, an Arizona driver was prosecuted for DUI after tests found the presence of inactive metabolites of marijuana in his system.

Several studies have indicated that these inactive metabolites can continue to remain in the system of a person who has consumed marijuana for weeks after the last toke. However, they may not have any impact on the person’s driving abilities.

Arizona’s zero-tolerance laws include a strict ban on metabolites which means that drivers, who have any trace of the marijuana metabolites in their system can be at risk of being prosecuted for DUI, if they are found driving with those metabolites in their blood, even in the absence of intoxicated behavior. Persons at risk of a DUI arrest include 20,000 registered medical marijuana users in that state. All of these persons would have been technically at risk of breaking the state’s DUI laws.

However, this new ruling does not mean that Arizona motorists can simply light up, inhale and then get behind the wheel. Persons driving under the influence of marijuana who have active THC, which is the main ingredient in marijuana in their blood or urine, can be prosecuted for DUI.