More Research Is Needed Before Medical Marijuana DUI Laws Are Proposed And Passed
Posted by Little Buds | July 02 2012 | 9495 views | Comments ↓
Too High To Drive?
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All 50 states have laws that say driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs is a crime punishable by law. However, these laws become hazy when it comes to the use of medical marijuana and driving. Over the past couple of years, around 14 states have set laws for this issue, coming up with a threshold for deciding when a driver is too high to be driving. The decision was made that if a driver is caught with more than 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood, they are technically intoxicated and too high to be driving.
Just like a regular DUI, the driver would then receive a fine, lose their license temporarily, face increased insurance fees, and possible jail time. This can all cause a driver fees up to $10,000.
Some of these states are even adopting a zero tolerance law for driving under the influence of marijuana, which would result in an automatic conviction.
The problem with these laws is how exactly the medical marijuana smoker decides when he or she is too intoxicated? How would you know when smoking, if you have consumed enough marijuana to have more than 5 nanograms of THC per millimeter of blood in your system? The answer is not as simple as waiting one hour to drive, after every drink you consume. All drivers know the guidelines for drinking alcohol and driving. But for marijuana, the guidelines remain hazy.
Through toxicology, marijuana is detectable in tests of blood, hair, urine and saliva. But how quickly does the THC pass through one’s system? In smokers who don’t smoke regularly, the THC may remain in their system for several hours. However patients who smoke every day, the THC remains in their system for days. This means a heavy marijuana smoker may not smoke for days and be fully alert at the wheel, but will still have very high levels of THC in their blood.
Tests have been conducted on drunk drivers versus drivers who are high, and the results are incredibly different. Whereas a drunk driver displays incredibly aggressive behavior behind the wheel, a driver who is high on marijuana has heightened awareness, and therefore tends to drive more cautiously.
All of this information points clearly to the fact that more research needs to be conducted before DUI medical marijuana laws are proposed and passed. As it stands now, these laws are discriminatory against medical marijuana users.
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Monday, 02 July 2012
Photography by Dmitrijs Bindemanis
Article by Little Buds, on Jul. 2nd 2012