Keeping High Drivers Off the Road in Colorado and Washington

by RyanD on May 14, 2013


In the past year, both Colorado and Washington legalized the recreational use of marijuana. News outlets have called this one of the largest victories for individuals who fight for the legalization of marijuana throughout the United States. There still remain conflicts between the state laws and federal laws, and only time will tell how these state laws may be trumped by federal laws in the future. Currently, federal law still outlaws the use of marijuana for recreational use.

Legal Issues Raised
There are many issues that have been raised by the legalization of medical marijuana. Some individuals are concerned about drivers on the road who are under the influence of marijuana. Washington has already established a legal limit for individuals who smoke marijuana and drive on the road, which is a legal limit of 5 nanograms per milliliter of THC in the blood system. Colorado has also followed the trend, recently establishing legal limits for this use in the state legislature.

The bill that has been passed states that individuals who have more than five nanograms of THC per milliliter in their bloodstream will be convicted of an offense. This legislation has raised even more issues for individuals to consider. Individuals who use medical marijuana may have these levels of THC in the bloodstream from the moment they wake up, since THC lingers in the bloodstream. These individuals believe that this is a violation of their constitutional rights. Individuals who exceed the legal standards that are set forth in Colorado will not be able to argue that they were sober at the time of arrest.

One of the benefits of the legislation is that simply carrying a medical marijuana card may not subject a person to the search of his or her vehicle. Police officers in Colorado may not use the possession of a medical marijuana card as probable cause for searching a person, searching a vehicle, or simply arresting an individual.

There are individuals who believe that driving while high does not pose a serious threat to society. These individuals believe that the legislation should not allow for the arrest of individuals who drive while high on marijuana. Jason War is one individual who is part of the Colorado Springs Medical Cannabis Council, and he does not believe this type of legal standard is necessary. Since over 100,000 drivers have already been on the road while high in the past decade, he does not believe this standard is necessary for regulating these drivers.

Other states currently have legislation that limits the amount of THC that may be in an individual’s blood while on the road. In Ohio and Nevada, a person may have no more than two nanograms of THC in his or her bloodstream while driving on the road.

Critique of the Legislation
It appears that if legislation is passed to keep high drivers off of the road, that this legislation will have little to no impact in actually regulating pot use for drivers. Individuals will likely continue to use marijuana for recreational or medicinal purposes and continue to drive.



This article was contributed together with Robert Tritter, an aspiring lawyer who looks forward to helping you make better decisions. He writes this on behalf of Valencia, Ippolito, and Bowman, attorneys at law who specialize in DUI cases. As attorneys who keep up with the latest trends in relevant legislations, they are sure to give you the best service possible. Check out their website today to see how they can help you.




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