Recreational cannabis has been legalized in the state of California and several others, but the laws regarding driving while high haven’t caught up to these new freedoms. There is a crazy patchwork of laws and bad science that makes determining who is driving while actually impaired difficult to measure.
The fundamental problem is that THC, the main impairing component of cannabis, is fat-soluble. Detectable levels of THC can persist in your bloodstream for weeks after you use it yet aren’t high enough to impair you. But with states that insist that any amount of THC in your body is enough to impair you, this leads to a lot of catch-22s.
Lawmakers and police officers are aware of this. Both want to have a firm number they can use to measure DUI charges. They also want to have a test as easy as the current tests for alcohol to find people high while driving. But the science just isn’t there yet, despite many products rushing to market hoping to get the patent on reliable THC testing at a traffic stop.
Now that cannabis consumption is legal in California, officers will be stepping up their patrols looking for impairment in drivers. They will have to use their best judgment in watching driver behavior and make an educated guess on whether or not it was caused by marijuana. Currently, if you take any amount of a drug (other than alcohol) and it impairs your driving, you are breaking the law. But until better science and testing methods come along, it will be hard for the prosecution to pin DUI on marijuana users.
Have you been charged with a DUI related to cannabis use? Contact our Los Angeles DUI team today for a free consultation. We can help.