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Idahoans can smoke pot and drive

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SAN FRANCISCO — Marijuana users can drive legally in Idaho as long as they don't drive erratically and can pass a field sobriety test, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.

While it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or narcotics, Idaho law doesn't list marijuana as a narcotic, wrote the three-judge panel for the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The ruling overturned an impaired driving conviction against Matthew Patzer, 21, who was stopped for a broken tailgate light in 1998 and admitted to police he'd smoked marijuana at a party.

The appeals court said Patzer could not automatically be presumed impaired; he wasn't driving erratically and passed two field sobriety tests.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael J. Fica in Idaho said the government may ask the court to review its decision or request the U.S. Supreme Court hear the case.