Photo via HuffPost Article.
Of concern to proponents of legalizing recreational marijuana use is that there is currently no test for being stoned while driving. This makes for a DUI citation impossible to carry out. Using current breathalyzer tests does not prove the level of how high, usage, or canabinoids in the bloodstream. In light of this, Hound Labs, an Oakland company announced that they have developed a test to determine cannabis levels.
We spoke with Mike Lynn, Lynn a Knoxville DUI Lawyer suggested,
“The concept is based on the amount of time since the driver smoked or ate marijuana. Since marijuana has residual levels in the bloodstream long after smoking a joint, it is possible to determine if he is stoned, with a test akin to an alcohol breathalyzer test. The company has joined with the University of California, San Francisco in testing the concept as well as the device.”
It is also being tested by law enforcement authorities and it should be available for use as early as late 2017.
The problem of driving under the influence of marijuana was not determined until after its recreational use has been legalized. Data from traffic incidents in Washington State and Colorado shows that marijuana-related traffic accidents and deaths have doubled since recreational use was legalized.
Proposition 64, which proposes the legalization of marijuana for both medical and legal use in California does not have any articles regarding the use of marijuana while driving a car, operating a vehicle or heavy equipment. Many in the law enforcement community deem this as a concern and a problem for the implementation of the law. It is possible that a driver might be asked to pull aside, and the officer determines that the driver is high on marijuana. However, since there is no breathalyzer test for marijuana, the driver would have to be let go, even if there was a stash of weed lying on the front passenger seat.
Advocates of Proposition 64 have been adamant in their position that there has not been any scientific study linking the THC levels in the blood stream and the capacity to drive. Without any baseline to say that there is a person is too high to drive, then necessarily, there can be no arrests for driving while stoned.
The medical and recreational benefits of marijuana has been thoroughly studied. It has also been studied in comparison to the toxic and addictive substances in cigarettes. However, there has not been any studies linking the use to risks while driving. In the same manner, there has not been any study to develop a device to determine how stoned a person is.
This is going to be a growing concern, even as other states are legalizing the use of marijuana, medical or otherwise. With an increase in marijuana related driving incidents, the concern is that the public has not been properly educated about the dangers of driving while high.
There are now twenty-five states plus the District of Columbia which have legalized marijuana either for medicinal, recreational reasons, or both. It is expected to be only a matter of time before the rest of the country follows suit. Each state has their own laws regarding the use and ownership of cannabis, as well as planting, and sales of marijuana leaves and its derivative products. There are also considerations about doctors prescribing or giving out subscriptions for medical use of cannabis.