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Legal marijuana poses questions for state governments

New York residents may know that on Nov. 8, voters in a few states approved ballot initiatives that would make the possession of small amounts of marijuana legal. As marijuana laws are loosened throughout the country, it has given rise to new legal questions that may have an impact on drivers. A study conducted by Automobile Association of America’s Foundation for Traffic Safety found fatal crashes involving drivers using marijuana doubled after Washington legalized the substance.

However, some have cast doubt upon the scientific validity of legal limits imposed on those who choose to operate a vehicle after using marijuana. There is also doubt about whether or not there are adequate ways to test for the substance. The AAA report found that there is no level at which a marijuana user becomes reliably impaired. Furthermore, as THC can stay in the blood for weeks, the presence of it in the blood may not be an indication of impairment.

This may cause people to be charged with DUI even if they aren’t impaired. Tests available today may also have a hard time detecting how much THC is in a person’s blood after determining that it is there. While companies are scrambling to be the first to create a reliable THC test, it may not matter until prosecutors and attorneys can agree on a fair legal limit.

A charge of driving while intoxicated by marijuana will in most cases bring with it the same types of serious penalties that are associated with alcohol impairment. This is why it is advisable for people who are facing these allegations to obtain the assistance of a DUI attorney when attempting to combat them.

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