Is It Legal to Drive While Using Marijuana in Virginia?
Marijuana legalization has brought about a host of changes, not only in terms of access and consumption but also with regards to its impact on road safety. In Virginia, as in many other states, driving under the influence of marijuana is a serious concern. The Virginia Cannabis Control Authority (CCA) has launched initiatives to raise awareness about the risks associated with driving while high.
In this blog post, we'll explore the laws and regulations surrounding marijuana use and driving in Virginia, and discuss why obtaining a medical marijuana card may still be the right choice for individuals seeking the benefits of marijuana for their health.
The CCA's Safe Driving Campaign
The CCA's Safe Driving Campaign is a crucial step in addressing the issue of impaired driving due to marijuana use. This initiative aims to educate Virginians about the risks of driving under the influence of cannabis and to emphasize the importance of planning for a sober ride. The campaign is backed by research conducted by the CCA, which revealed some alarming insights.
According to Brianna Bonat, health policy and data manager for CCA, the 2022 survey data showed that approximately 30% of Virginians believed that using cannabis while driving made driving safe. This perception is concerning, as it indicates a lack of awareness regarding the impairing effects of marijuana on one's ability to drive safely.
Misconceptions About Marijuana and Driving
One of the key findings from the survey is that a significant portion of respondents falsely believe that marijuana use enhances driving safety. This misconception can be dangerous and puts both the individual and other road users at risk. It's essential to dispel this misunderstanding and educate the public on the actual impact of marijuana on driving abilities.
The survey also indicated that only 26% of Virginians saw marijuana-impaired driving as extremely dangerous, a notably lower response rate compared to other risky behaviors, such as texting or drinking alcohol while driving. This discrepancy in perception raises concerns about the potential dangers of marijuana-impaired driving.
The Influence of Legalization
The legalization of medical marijuana in Virginia might have unintentionally contributed to these misconceptions. The survey findings revealed that the perception of risk had diminished since the legalization of medical marijuana. While medical marijuana has its undeniable benefits, it's important to distinguish between medical use and activities that require full attention, such as driving.
Virginia's State Police's Crime of Virginia 2022 report indicated that there were 1,560 arrests for marijuana violations, including dozens for driving under the influence. This number represents a 37% decline from 2021, when possession and personal use of cannabis became legal in Virginia.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also updated crime statistics, revealing a similar downward trend in marijuana-related arrests. JM Pedini, the executive director of Virginia National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), pointed out that these declining numbers suggest that Virginia's marijuana legalization law, enacted in 2021, is operating as intended.
According to Pedini, we can expect the number of marijuana-related arrests to continue decreasing. In fact, it's estimated that post-legalization, marijuana-related arrests in Virginia will decrease by approximately 90%, aligning with what has already been observed in the Commonwealth.
The CCA's Safe Driving Campaign
To address the misconceptions and raise awareness about the dangers of driving under the influence of marijuana, the CCA has rolled out its Safe Driving Campaign. This comprehensive initiative includes various components:
Billboard and Digital Advertisements: Eye-catching billboards and digital ads serve as reminders of the risks associated with marijuana-impaired driving.
Public Service Announcements: Radio and television public service announcements are designed to reach a wide audience, emphasizing the importance of sober driving.
Social Media Campaign: Leveraging the power of social media, the campaign disseminates information and engages with the public to spread the message further.
Partnerships: Collaborative efforts with other Virginia organizations and businesses play a vital role in informing Virginians about the risks of driving while high.
The campaign targets not only recreational and medical consumers but also parents and friends of consumers. By utilizing various platforms and channels, the CCA aims to effectively communicate the message that driving under the influence of marijuana is dangerous and unacceptable.
Why Medical Marijuana May Still Be the Right Choice
As Virginia continues to navigate the landscape of legalized marijuana, individuals who require the therapeutic benefits of cannabis must consider their options carefully. While recreational marijuana may be accessible to a wider audience, it's essential to recognize the unique advantages of obtaining a medical marijuana card.
Medical marijuana provides tailored solutions for specific health conditions. It ensures that patients receive strains and products designed to address their individual medical needs. This level of precision and expertise can be invaluable for those seeking relief from chronic pain, anxiety, and various medical conditions.
Moreover, possessing a medical marijuana card offers certain benefits, including access to medical dispensaries and the ability to purchase products with higher levels of THC, which may be necessary for managing specific health issues.
How to Obtain a Medical Marijuana Card
If you believe that medical marijuana is the right choice for your health and well-being, it's essential to know how to obtain a medical marijuana card. The process typically involves the following steps:
Consultation: Schedule a consultation with a qualified healthcare provider who can evaluate your medical condition and determine whether medical marijuana is a suitable treatment option.
Medical Assessment: During the consultation, your healthcare provider will assess your medical history and symptoms to determine if you qualify for a medical marijuana card.
Documentation: Your healthcare provider will complete the necessary documentation, which is usually submitted to the state's medical marijuana program.
Application: Complete the application process, which may involve providing personal information and paying the required fees.
Approval: Once your application is approved, you'll receive your medical marijuana card, granting you access to medical dispensaries and the full range of medical marijuana products.
By taking this route, individuals can ensure that they receive appropriate care for their medical conditions while also abiding by the state's laws and regulations.
The issue of marijuana use and driving is a critical concern in Virginia, and the CCA's Safe Driving Campaign is a vital step in addressing this challenge. While marijuana legalization has transformed the landscape, it's crucial to distinguish between recreational and medical use, especially when it comes to driving. Individuals with medical needs can benefit from obtaining a medical marijuana card, ensuring access to tailored treatments and higher THC levels when necessary.
As Virginia's marijuana journey continues, staying informed about the laws and regulations is essential. Whether you're considering medical marijuana or recreational use, your choices can have a significant impact on your health and the safety of Virginia's roadways. Take the right path for your well-being and make informed decisions about marijuana use in Virginia.
Get Your Medical Marijuana Card Today
Lucky for you, medical marijuana is already legal in Virginia! You can get your medical marijuana card today if you have a qualifying condition and see if cannabis helps with your depressive symptoms.
Recreational marijuana is legal in Virginia too, but it does not mean much since there are no recreational dispensaries to purchase products from.
There are also countless benefits to having your medical card in a recreational state! You will save money on taxes and cannabis products and enjoy higher possession and purchase limits if you have your medical card in Virginia!
In order to qualify for your medical marijuana card, you will need to have a condition that would make you eligible. If you aren’t sure if you would qualify, give us a call and we can answer any questions you may have about the process.
If you don’t already have your card, no worries. We can help! If you think you could benefit from medical marijuana, there is a good chance you would qualify for your medical card in the State of Virginia. With telemedicine, it is now easier than ever to get your medical card from the comfort of your own home!
In Virginia, any inhibiting condition could qualify you for your medical card. If you don’t already have it, we can help! Schedule an evaluation online today and we’ll make an appointment for you with one of our knowledgeable, compassionate doctors.
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At Virginia Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness
safely and conveniently through increased access to MMJ. 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 (888) 633-5808, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!