What Happens If You Get Caught Driving High?
Marijuana has already been legalized in Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon with more states expected to be voting soon. Also, with the ongoing process in Canada, it is expected that the government will legalize the substance for recreational use by this spring. On the other hand, medical marijuana is legal in more than twenty US states. With the plant becoming more and more available for patients and recreational users, one question remains – are we allowed to drive under the influence of it?
The answer is simple – no. Driving under the influence of marijuana, both medical and recreational, is considered as a serious DUI (driving under the influence) offense which can lead to a criminal record. But, with the exception of Colorado state where driving under the influence of marijuana is allowed with the maximum amount of five nanograms per milliliter of blood.
Measuring Drug Impairment
Since there are still no reliable devices for tracking THC (main substance of marijuana) in blood, like breathalyzers for measuring alcohol impairment, police officers are trained to recognize drugged drivers. In fact, if they pull over a driver under the suspicion of being high, they will look for the physical signs of impairment like redness and eye waterness. Also, the drivers can be ordered to take the standard roadside test (like walk-and-turn or one-leg-standing) or to take a blood sample test.
While more reliable devices are being developed and tested, the controversy over the measuring is still on. And the main reason is because THC remains in the blood for weeks, even months after taking the substance. So it’s hard to determine, without looking at the physical signs, whether the driver had taken marijuana just before the driving or sometime before.
What are the penalties for marijuana impaired driving and when can you be charged with DUI is explained in this infographic made by OMQ Law Office from Toronto. Take a look to find out what is the difference in drunk driving and high driving, and always remember to be responsible and drive safe.