With more and more states enacting laws that are more lenient on possession and personal use of marijuana, there are also laws changing to incorporate more widespread marijuana use. One logical area for change is with regard to DUI laws. There is much that you can never understand about the effects of marijuana on the human body, especially over time. Unlike alcohol, marijuana stays in a person’s bloodstream for hours and even days after actual consumption. Across the US, states are looking to strict a balance between keeping roads safe and not overly restricting legal activity. Some have imposed no tolerance laws.
The Full Gambit: No Tolerance to Blood Level Measurements
In Colorado, one of the country’s leading states for the legalization of marijuana, lawmakers chose to pass legislation that makes it illegal to drive with over 5 nanograms of THC (the psychoactive part of marijuana) in your system. In a state where its capital’s downtown is flooded with partakers every April 20th, this arbitrary limit is a curious one. There is no argument to the contrary that driving while under the influence applies equally to drugs as it does to alcohol. However, the relevant question is where is the intoxication line for marijuana? For alcohol, the line nationwide is .08% blood alcohol content, but so far there is no such consensus for marijuana.
Illinois lawmakers initially took a different approach by enforcing no tolerance laws that place liability for accidents for drivers with any level of marijuana in their system. In one extreme example of Illinois’ laws in action, a victim of another driver’s carelessness was charged with an aggravated DUI because of what seemed to be trace levels of THC in his system at the time of the accident. Illinois law at the time allowed prosecutors to charge anyone driving with trace amounts of THC in their system with charges that carried with them a sentence of up to 14 years in jail without evidence of the person’s fault in an accident.
When Is a Driver Impaired?
Proponents of such no tolerance laws claim that they protect drivers by deterring those who wish to drive after smoking marijuana. What many may not realize is that THC can stay in a person’s system for days and sometimes weeks after the person ingested marijuana. Further, there is little evidence to show exactly how much marijuana a person needs to have in their system to be impaired.
If impairment is the determining factor behind alcohol’s limit of .08% blood alcohol content, why then is marijuana subject to a limit without data showing this level causes impairment? People are still studying how much THC it takes to cause an impairment, but many legislators cannot wait for results. Constituents on both sides continue to call for new laws with regard to acceptable levels of marijuana.
If a driver who may have marijuana injures you or the person you know, call the professionals at the Thompson Law Firm, PLLC. Our attorneys can explain the intricacies of Arizona DUI law as they apply to drugged driving and help you in your recovery.