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Smoking weed - When is someone too high to drive?

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Once upon a time, this was the fare of "Just Say No" campaigns and stoner comedy. The growing acceptance of marijuana's medicinal and recreational uses has contributed to the plant's rising popularity in recent years. To connect with a medical marijuana doctor minneapolis follow the link.

In response, state governments are experimenting with innovative approaches to ensure that the widespread use of this once illegal medication doesn't expose citizens to any unnecessary health hazards. The topic of whether it is unsafe for someone to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is complicated by these attempts.

The explanation for the correct response is complex. Researchers in the fields of neuroscience and pharmacology are at a loss as to whether or not marijuana has any cognitive effects on its users.

Blood and urine tests may detect the presence of THC, but they cannot determine how recently someone took the drug, since THC traces remain in the body for a long time. They also don't specify what blood alcohol concentration level constitutes "under the influence" for a motorist.

According to Keith Humphreys, a specialist in psychiatry and drug policy at Stanford University in California, "It's a tremendously challenging subject." In 2016, California was the first state to allow recreational marijuana use for adults as well as medicinal marijuana use. He remarked, "Even if we know someone has been using, we don't have a decent notion of how much they're damaged by it."

Ten states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana usage. A ballot initiative approved in the state of Michigan in November and took effect on December 6. In a statement released on December 17th, the governor of New York cited legalization as one of the state's top goals for the next year. And the medicinal use of cannabis is already permitted in over 30 states.

There is a defined limit for alcohol consumption in the United States. If your BAC is 0.08 or more, you are considered legally inebriated and should not operate a motor vehicle. Numerous studies support this finding, and its clarity facilitates the enforcement of anti-drunk driving legislation.

More adults over the age of 50 are consuming cannabis, and that has some physicians concerned.

It is far more difficult to establish a threshold for marijuana impairment. Nonetheless, authorities caution that states that have legalized marijuana must work out the kinks.

You can't legalize a product and not have a clear strategy to discourage individuals from driving while high, says Steven Davenport, an assistant policy researcher at the non-profit Rand Corp. who specializes in marijuana studies.

After all, being under the influence of marijuana impairs one's ability to concentrate and react quickly. But authorities are "playing catch-up," according to UC San Diego psychiatry professor Thomas Marcotte, who is just one of several academics throughout the nation looking into the issue of drugged driving.

There has been a wide variety of approaches used by states. There are at least five jurisdictions where driving while above the legal limit for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the blood is considered a crime under the "per se" statute. THC is essentially the active ingredient in marijuana.

To paraphrase, "You can't make a substance legal but not have a clear strategy to deter individuals from driving while high on that drug."

Since marijuana was approved for recreational use by adults in Colorado in 2012, the state has a statute prohibiting its drivers from doing so while under the influence. After three years of discussion, it became law that any motorist with THC levels over 5 ng/mL is deemed "intoxicated."

Having any detectable level of THC in your system while driving is against the law in certain states, including Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. Others argue that drivers should only face consequences if they are impaired by the substance. This looks reasonable, but it becomes difficult to quantify or even describe very immediately.

None of these proposed solutions has been recommended by experts.

"We're still learning out which regulations work best," said Ann Kitch, who monitors the topic of marijuana and driving for the National Conference of State Legislatures.


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Published on September 23, 2022

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