Driving High: When are you impaired?
Experts say this time the driving while stoned bill will likely become law. Marijuana proponents wanted it treated like alcohol, but it's not as comparable as you might think.
Driving drunk is illegal, but people might have one or two drinks and still drive home. For marijuana, smoking once could, or could not put you over the five nanograms of THC.
Experts say people need to know their limits.
“The chronic marijuana user could have a very high amount in their system from use two or three times a day, like, for instance, using it for glaucoma,” says Mike Moran a criminal defense attorney.
The proposed law allows for a way out.
If you get stopped and have too much THC in your blood, you can fight it in court. You can't do that if you're caught drunk driving.
“You could effectively say, even though I have marijuana in my system, I am not high from that particular medicine,” says Moran.
Jill McGuire works at Conspire!, a drug testing company. She is helping the Governor’s task force on the implementation of Amendment 64. McGuire understands some people think five nanograms is too low, but Conspire! has found there is impairment at that level.
“People can have different tolerances by what they take in because they consume for alcohol or their body metabolizes faster. However the standard is the standard,” says McGuire.
Just like with drinking, if you are new to smoking plan not to drive.
“People are going to have to realize their limits or they can place themselves in danger,” says Moran.
Moran says he does not expect much of a spike in DUI marijuana cases. There are already laws in the books about driving high.
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