My sister refuses to get into the car with me when I’m stoned. It’s quite insulting as when I’m a little high I drive a lot more cautiously than when sober – although she sees my slow driving as something to worry about. But when is someone too high to drive?
That’s the precise problem some USA states are looking into since the legalisation of the green. Many are looking into how to tell if someone is stoned when pulled over by a cop.
Hawaii is the latest state to get on board, and one way they are going about it is to see whether the level of THC in one’s bloodstream can determine if you’re too high to drive.
Washington and Colorado have policies dictating that anyone who registers five nanograms of THC per millimeter of blood is intoxicated. Pennsylvania has a policy of one nanogram. States like Arizona and Oklahoma have zero tolerance polices, meaning anyone who registers as having THC in their system while driving is violating the law. Don’t even go near a joint in Arizona or Oklahoma. Don’t even look at one.
Zero policy affects medical marijuana patients who will not be able to drive at all, which is a bit unfair. Jeff Wilson, an attorney for McAllister Law Office in Denver, Colorado had this to say:
Any state that has a zero tolerance limit is making a big mistake…The biggest problem with THC limits right now is they’re scientifically unsound.
Wilson pointed to a case his law firm handled where a woman who was a medical marijuana patient had been tested at 25 nanograms per millimeter in her blood when she was driving, and the case ended up with a hung jury. That’s because the law firm was able to test her in their office and found due to the frequency in which she smokes, she’s constantly in the ballpark of 25 nanograms. She claimed she hadn’t even smoked the day she was pulled over.
The problem is that THC levels and alcohol levels cannot be measured in the same way and to do so is scientifically unsound.
But how’s this: it has been found that prescription drugs are more dangerous on the road than those who smoke the herb. Instead of looking at THC levels, it has been advised that police look at other signs of being high to determine the outcome:
Redness in the eyes, someone admitting to having smoked recently, their behaviour, or the presence of a marijuana odour may be factors police could focus on when deciding if someone is sober.
You know, the general factors you notice before you ask, “Dude, are you high?”
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