Don’t smoke and drive. That’s a sure fire way to get a DUI -a weed DUI!
Yes, you read right. You can get a weed DUI — driving under the influence of marijuana (cannabis).
Although twenty-nine states have decriminalized marijuana for medicinal purposes — some for recreational — just like alcohol or any other drug, it is still illegal to drive under the influence of it.
What constitutes a weed DUI, and since there is no way to perform a roadside check, how it is possible for law enforcement to know when someone is driving under the influence of marijuana?
These questions remain as do others.
So here are 5 common Weed DUI questions answered.
How Much Marijuana Constitutes a Weed DUI?
Marijuana limits vary by state.
Nine states legally allow cannabis use for both medicinal and recreational purposes with possession limits ranging from 1oz (6 plants) to 10oz (a 60-day supply).
Twenty states allow for the strict use of cannabis for medical reasons only with possession limits ranging from 1oz (4 plants, 12 seedlings) to a 90-day supply (amount determined by the state).
With these limits in place, each state has laws in place that allow for law enforcement to identify when an individual is driving under the influence of excessive marijuana.
How Does Marijuana Affect Driving Skills?
For years, the argument remained that there was no clear way to determine if driving while high impaired judgment.
In the state of California, a driving simulator was used to determine if a driver’s judgment was impaired while under the influence of weed.
It was concluded that driver’s who smoke weed on a regular basis showed no signs of impairment, while those who tried the substance for the first time could have a lapse in judgment since there’s no determining factor on the way first-timers are affected by marijuana.
However, other tests have revealed that things like the driver’s reaction time, target detection and anticipation are all affected when a person is under the influence of weed.
Do Officers Know I’m High?
Unlike alcohol DUIs, officers do not have access to breathalyzers to measure the amount of weed in driver’s system roadside.
Officers rely on more cognitive tests like the smell of weed in a vehicle and requiring a driver walk a straight line.
What Tests Are Used to Determine the Level of Marijuana in the Body?
Weed registers in the body as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) — the chemical compound in cannabis that makes a person high.
THC can be detected in the blood, urine, or oral excretions. If a THC test comes back measuring more than the state’s legal amount, a driver will be charged with driving under the influence of weed.
Are These Methods Set in Stone?
Because officers don’t have the same luxury of portable roadside breathalyzers with alcohol DUIs, they have to rely on current methods.
The visual signs of a high driver–red eyes and large pupils–and blood and fluid tests are the current reliable tests for officers to determine if a person is driving under the influence of weed.
Check out our news section for more up-to-date information on roadside legalities.