Currently, six states in this country employ legal tests to determine the level of a driver’s impairment following marijuana consumption. And yet, according to an AAA study -- the largest automobile club in the U.S. -- those tests have “no scientific basis.” Instead, AAA states that it’s currently not possible to set a legal blood level threshold for THC, the chemical in marijuana that makes users high. But, in five of these six states, local authorities can presume the driver is guilty if they pass that legal threshold -- and could be wrongly convicted as a result.
They’re stating that accidents are increasing now that marijuana has been legalized.
Testing for marijuana in your blood stream is not yet effective. After all, you can have marijuana in your blood stream for three weeks. It doesn’t mean you’re high on it at the moment. That’s the difficulty and the challenge that authorities face.
How do they figure out what level of marijuana is acceptable, and what level isn’t? Officials are looking to find a legal threshold, just like they did with alcohol. All 50 states have now set a .08% blood alcohol concentration as the legal limit for driving under the influence or driving while impaired. They’d like to replicate that limit with marijuana usage. That’s all this is about.
To me, it’s simple. Are there going to be more accidents due to legal marijuana use? Sure. Just as there’s more accidents due to driving under the influence of prescription drugs. Just as there’s more accidents due to smoking cigarettes in your car. Just as there’s more accident due to cell phone use and texting while driving.
But let’s look into the future, as this might be moot. Elon Musk’s Tesla car can drive itself now. We may soon come into an age where cars are driven only by computers. You could be inebriated and get home safe and sound. That’s looming on the horizon here. It’s not out of the realm -- even within my lifetime I believe.
When that happens, there won’t be a driving while impaired charge. I guess they better make their DUI/DWI arrest right now, because the day’s coming where local authorities won’t have that revenue!
It will be interesting to see how that unfolds in the near future. Certainly, with any type of consumption, there’s a risk while driving. The point is you have to be discretionary. How they’ll determine what the legal limit is -- well, I guess that’s the elephant in the room.
But until they figure that out, what are they going to do about it?
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Ora Media, LLC its affiliates, or its employees.
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