Dichter Law Office, PLLC Articles Marijuana Legalization Could Create DUI Problems

Marijuana Legalization Could Create DUI Problems

By Dichter Law Office  Dec. 17, 2012 12:51p

New Law Creates THC Level Provision

After Washington voters chose to legalize marijuana use, there was much celebration on the part of recreational smokers throughout the state. Details of the law, however, might pose some potential complications for smokers and law enforcement officers alike.

As part of the legal-but-regulated status of alcohol, there is a clear limit on the blood alcohol toxicity at which it becomes illegal to drive. Under federal law, the maximum BAC allowed is .08 percent, above which everyone is automatically considered too impaired to drive.

In drafting Initiative-502, the marijuana legalization bill, lawmakers chose to create a similar legal limit for the drug. The text of the bill states that once a driver reaches levels of five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood, they are considered too impaired to drive. According to several scientists, however, this limit may cause significant problems of enforcement.

Medical Experts Worry About Implementation Of Bill

First among the concerns voiced by critics of the limit is the time it takes THC to filter out of the body naturally. Unlike alcohol, which dissipates in the blood over the course of hours, active THC can remain undiluted in the blood of regular or heavy users for far longer. In fact, critics claim, in the heaviest users of the drug, THC may never fall below 5 nanograms per milliliter, even though the psychoactive effects of the drug are not felt.

The second problem created by the five nanogram limit, critic allege, is the inability of users to detect their own THC levels. Blood alcohol testing technology is readily available to many drinkers, as well as law enforcement officers, who in some states can use Breathalyzer equipment from their squad cars.

The same technology for THC, however, is much less widespread, and is frequently less effective, forcing officers to take potentially intoxicated drivers to clinics or hospitals for testing. Indeed, they argue, scientists are not even sure that THC levels correspond accurately to impairment levels. Some doctors have recommended the limit be as low as 2 nanograms and as high as 10. Without more research, they argue, the current legal limit will inevitably create troubles.

A DUI Defense Attorney Has Your Back In Washington

If you have been accused of driving while under the influence of marijuana or any other intoxicant, it is imperative that you seek help from a trained professional as soon as possible. At Dichter Law Offices, our team of dedicated legal minds is here to help you pursue a not guilty verdict! With our services at your disposal, you can challenge your charges and protect yourself today. We urge you to visit our website to learn more about the options available to you.

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