The laws about driving under the influence of alcohol are pretty clear almost across the United States of America. This is mainly because most people react to alcohol the same way and the effect of it on driving is short term. After about four hours body can get rid of the intake. However, it does not appear to be straight forward in case of marijuana.
Marijuana use is being considered to be legalized and its use has already been relaxed in many states. It is interesting to see how the driving laws will be changed to deal with drivers under marijuana influence. Although there are already legislation in place would they change with the new look to using these weeds?
Currently, ten states have zero-tolerance toward driving under the influence of marijuana. In Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Rhode Island, Utah and Wisconsin, drivers pulled over with any amount of THC in their systems can be ticketed. Also, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington set limits for the amount of THC allowed in the blood while behind the wheel. Here is a state-by-state list of drugged-driving laws and penalties.
Marijuana is the second substance (behind alcohol) which causes impaired driving related accidents. It can affect concentration, decision making, alertness, reaction times, balance and coordination. All these are essential for being safe behind the wheel. According to some experts these signs are clear up to four hours after use. The problems start from then onward.
According to National Institute on Drug Abuse the THC (marijuana’s psychoactive chemical) can be detected in the system even one month after the use. This makes it a real problem to figure out how regular use affects drivers and the main question is how long after the use. According to studies, users had enough THC in their system after a month to affect concentration and multitasking. It suggests that these users may not be fit to drive even after thirty days.
The main problem is that THC lingers in the body for weeks and it makes it much different than alcohol to legislate. Alcohol starts losing its effect starting from one hour after drinking and the person can be alright to drive after 4-5 hours. Some argue that having toxins of the weed in the body does not make the person unfit for driving.
That brings us to a sticky point. How the police is going to detect the use and how much THC is too much? This does not look to be a subject that can be resolved quickly and with common concession. Probably, each state will have their own judgement on the matter as currently is. Furthermore, the laws will have to follow the changes in the way the use of marijuana is seen among people and by law makers.
Nonetheless, one thing is not open to debate and widely accepted. Regardless of the laws marijuana definitely affects driving abilities seriously at least for four hours after intake. If you are using it for whatever reason you must stay away from your car at least within this time for your own sake. Getting a ticket is one thing getting killed in a car crash is another. Check the website above about the legal position in your state.