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Does Marijuana REALLY Impair Drivers?

DWI is a crime typically associated with alcohol. Alcohol is legal, readily available, and most of the time it is easily affordable. However, there are 6 states, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington, that currently have specific legislation that imposes a “legal limit” on the amount of THC concentration present in a person’s bloodstream while driving, similar to the legal limit on a person’s blood alcohol concentration for a regular DWI. However, while this may seem like a good idea, a study from AAA Foundation for Safety shows that a legal limit cannot be scientifically justified. Basically, THC concentration cannot be used as a true method of testing someone’s degree of impairment, the way blood alcohol concentration can be.

The Current Laws

Currently, the laws that impose legal limits on THC concentration in a person’s bloodstream are based on arbitrary numbers that legislators developed based on alcohol limits. The truth of the matter is that measuring impairment of marijuana is not as clear cut as it is for alcohol. People often experience the drug differently. An avid user of the drug may be significantly less impaired by the drug than a first-time user. On top of this, because there are several ways to ingest the drug, the effects of the THC can manifest itself in several different ways. Some of these states have laws take into account trace amounts of THC, which can actually remain in a person’s body for several weeks. Essentially, these laws forbid marijuana users from ever driving at all, out of fear that trace amounts that are no longer active in their body will incriminate them when they are not even impaired.

For New Hampshire residents, marijuana is legal for medicinal purposes only. Medical marijuana is often used to treat cancer patients undergoing painful chemotherapy. If such an arbitrary law were to be enacted in this state, these patients could face prosecution for driving under the influence despite lack of actual impairment. There is no reason that a drug being used for medicinal purposes should be used to incriminate someone arbitrarily for a DWI charge.

The news report on the study went on to explain that while marijuana impairment can double the risk of a crash, comparisons to things such as talking on a hands-free cell phone while driving can quadruple the likelihood of a crash. Alcohol impairment at a blood alcohol concentration of .12% can increases the likelihood of a crash by at least fifteen times. While perhaps the legislation’s heart is in the right place while trying to impose limits on THC content to prevent risk, arbitrary numbers picked for legal limits can do more harm than good, and may result in convictions of innocent drivers.

If you or a loved one is currently facing DWI charges in New Hampshire, contact Tenn And Tenn, P.A. today for a consultation. Don’t go into the courtroom without an experienced DUI attorney at your side.

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