Driving Under Marijuana Influence

Driving Under Marijuana Influence


California and other states that have decriminalized the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana still have laws against driving while impaired. However, the standards for marijuana impairment are still evolving, and many questions about driving under marijuana influence exist. Regardless of these questions, DUI Driving under the influence of marijuana is a crime in California.

Currently, California law enforcement uses both observed and chemically tested impairment as the basis for charges of marijuana. Field tests may allow trained officers to judge driver impairment based on personal observations. However, the reliability of this method is questionable. Although officers receive advanced training in identifying many indicators of pot impairment, many may not have mastered the skills required to make accurate observations.

Chemical testing involves measuring the active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the driver’s blood. Multiple problems exist with the tests, including the fact that, although no legal limit has been set as for drunk driving, many drivers are charged when their blood test results show THC exceeding 5 nanograms. Compared to blood/alcohol testing, testing for cannabis can be inaccurate because THC will show in a user’s blood for months. Furthermore, the two to three hours it typically takes to get a blood test completed may not provide reliable results.

Law enforcement personnel in California use a device similar to a Breathalyzer that tests drivers for several drugs, including marijuana. Another test requires the officer to take a swab sample from inside the driver’s cheek to check for drug presence on the spot. The fact remains that there is no legal limit against which to measure the THC level in a driver’s system.

The best step for California drivers who are accused of driving under marijuana influence is to consult with a DUI defense attorney experienced in handling these types of criminal cases.

Source: cannabisnow.com, “5 Questions About ‘Weed DUI’ Answered“, Rachel O’Connor, May 30, 2017

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