A new study conducted by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found that the current legal blood limits in place for marijuana are not an accurate way to measure whether a person is too impaired to drive. The study concluded even further that the current system may actually allow dangerous drivers to go free, while wrongly convicting innocent drivers.
The study determined that it is almost impossible to accurately measure the level of a person’s marijuana impairment with the testing methods currently available. Researchers also point out that this will continue to become a growing problem as more states legalize marijuana, whether for recreational or medical use.
Testing for Marijuana
Among the more than two dozen states which have enacted laws to medically or recreationally legalize the drug, six have also set limits on the amount of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, also referred to as THC, (the chemical in marijuana which causes a person to become high), a person can have in their blood while operating a vehicle. These states include Colorado, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington. But the study says such limits – and the testing that is used to determine these limits – have no scientific basis at all.
Quantitative Standards Rejected
The study’s organizers called for states to repeal their blood limit laws and instead enact legislation which provides special training for law enforcement to be able to determine if a driver is impaired. Training would consist of learning to screen drivers for multiple indicators of drug impairment, including behavior, pupil dilation, and tongue color. Suspicion of drug impairment would then be followed by a blood test which would determine the presence of THC, but would not be determining a measurement of the chemical.
Although Illinois does have a medical marijuana program in place, there is not currently a legal blood limit for THC. Instead, the state has a zero tolerance policy. This means that if a driver’s blood shows even just a trace amount of marijuana, the presumption is that the person was impaired and he or she can be charged with driving under the influence. As one might expect, this can create serious problems for a person who uses the drug legally and drives with traces still in his or her system, despite not being remotely impaired.
Help for Drug-Related DUI
If you have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, contact an experienced Wheaton defense attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Salvatore C. Miglore & Associates at 630-933-8400 today for a free consultation.