How High is Too High to Drive?

When Washington state legalized marijuana, the state assured the public that the roads would be safe. But they didn’t realize that they would be facing a perplexing question: How stoned is too stoned to drive?

According to The News Tribune, Mark Kleiman, professor of public policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, states, “The answer is: Pretty damned stoned is not as dangerous as drunk.” Kleiman served as Washington state’s top pot consultant. He states that Washington state law has a law that is far too strict and could lead to convictions of sober drivers, with many not even knowing whether they’re abiding the law. With no conclusive research, states are all over the map as they try to assess intoxication by measuring blood levels of THC, the main ingredient in marijuana.

Marijuana is stored in fat cells and detectable in blood long after it’s smoked or consumed, for days or weeks, depending on the individual tolerance and level of use. Washington state and Colorado, the only two states that have fully legalized marijuana, have set a limit of five nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood.

Drawing blood roadside is not accomplishable by a cop to do roadside, so Kleiman suggests a mouth swab that tests the driver’s saliva for the presence of marijuana. Ultimately, the science is lagging really far behind with drugs versus alcohol.

If you or someone you know have been stopped, questioned, or arrested for driving under the influence, the first call you should make is to a qualified DUI defense attorney. We are available 24/7 on our on-call attorney line at (253) 217-4849

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