The legalization of marijuana is a hotly disputed topic. For the first time in decades, recreational marijuana is completely legal in a handful of states like Washington. Many other states are beginning to take similar measures in a path towards legalization but there is one unpleasant side effect that not many people think of. Whether recreational or medical, if you legalize marijuana, you need to establish proper protocols for how law enforcement will handle DUI laws as they pertain to marijuana consumption.
Motorists are being convicted of driving under the
influence of marijuana based on arbitrary state standards that have no
connection to whether the driver was actually impaired, says a study by
the nation’s largest auto club.
The problem is only growing as
more states contemplate legalizing the drug. At least three, and
possibly as many as 11 states, will vote this fall on ballot measures to
legalize marijuana for medicinal or recreational use, or both.
Legislation to legalize the drug has also been introduced in a half
Currently, six states where medical or recreational
marijuana use is legal – Colorado, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania
and Washington – have set specific limits for THC, the chemical in
marijuana that makes people high, in drivers’ blood. But the study by
AAA’s safety foundation says the limits have no scientific basis and can
result in innocent drivers being convicted, and guilty drivers being
“There is understandably a strong desire by both
lawmakers and the public to create legal limits for marijuana impairment
in the same manner we do alcohol,” said Marshall Doney, AAA’s president
and CEO. “In the case of marijuana, this approach is flawed and not
supported by scientific research.”
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