|Georgia High Court Strikes Down
Marijuana DUI Law
On June 1, the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously set aside a driving under the influence (DUI) law that punishes marijuana-using motorists for even trace amounts of the drug (Love v. State, No. S99A0509, 1999 WL 342736 (Sup. Ct. Ga. June 1, 1999) (Lawrence Viele, "Court Strikes DUI Law for Marijuana Users," Fulton County Daily Report, June 2, 1999; Sandy Hodson, "Marijuana Law Unconstitutional," Augusta Chronicle, July 5, 1999).
According to the court, the marijuana DUI law violates the constitutional right to equal protection by exempting prescription users of the drug. The case involved Everette Bryan Love, 21, who was convicted of DUI after police officers stopped him for speeding and tests showed he had trace amounts of marijuana in his system. The court did not find the prosecution of unimpaired drivers with trace amounts of the marijuana in their system to be a violation of equal protection. The court found the violation of equal protection in treating those who use marijuana for medical purposes differently than those who use it recreationally, even though the drug's impairment effect is the same. The court ruled: "We are unable to hold that the legislative distinction between sanctioned and unsanctioned users of marijuana is directly related to the public safety purpose of the legislation."
Attorneys for Everette Bryan Love David E. Clark & Jessica R. Towne, Clark & Town, 600 Perry St., Lawrenceville, GA 30045, Tel: (770) 338-2338, Fax: (770) 338-2341.
Georgia Attorney General Thurbert E. Baker - 40 Capitol Square, SW, Atlanta, GA 30334-1300, Tel: (404)656-3300.•