As more Californians partake in medical marijuana, the challenge for law
enforcement becomes how high is too high to be operating a motor vehicle?
Police across the country have become increasingly confused by what constitutes
stoned driving and what the limits are, much like limits for blood alcohol.
Recently a Michigan man was pulled over for speeding and the deputy detected
a strange odor emanating from the vehicle. A later blood test revealed
the driver had traces of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), marijuana's active
ingredient. Michigan has a zero-tolerance policy for drugged driving,
but the driver was issued the medical marijuana for treatment of a hernia
and rheumatoid arthritis. If he is convicted, his license may be suspended
and due to a DUI conviction years ago, could face one year in jail.
The challenge for law enforcement has become: what constitutes too high to drive?
From 2009 to 2011, the number of Colorado drivers testing positive for
THC, doubled. In a California survey conducted on two weekend nights over
the summer, nearly 7 percent of drivers had positive THC tests.
In order to test for THC, a driver must submit to a blood test; there is
no "Breathalyzer" for marijuana. In California, there is a "Drug
Recognition Exam" also referred to as a DRE. This is a more complicated
version of the Field Sobriety Tests such as the walk the line test that
are used to determine if you are under the influence of alcohol. Special
complications arise when an officer not trained in the use of the DRE
attempt to determine the level of impairment a person has for drugs.
If you receive a DUI ticket for drugged driving in California, you need
a traffic ticket expert to help you fight it.