One of the big questions regarding the legalization of marijuana is preventing the increase of drugged driving. Two legislators from Colorado have put their names behind legislation that hopes to stem the tide of stoned drivers. Jared Polis (CO-02) and Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) have signed on to the Limited Unsafe Cannabis-Inspired Driving (LUCID) Act.
The act is a three-pronged effort to address drugged driving. If passed:
- Marijuana would be included in the federal definition of impaired driving
- Federal highway funding would be available to states that have legalized recreational or medical marijuana, as long as those states have laws against drugged driving and methods of enforcing those laws
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) would conduct testing and research on driving under the influence of marijuana to determine the most effective means of enforcement.
The trouble with marijuana testing is that it is difficult to correlate marijuana in the blood with actual impairment. In Colorado, for example, having five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood gives permissible inference that a driver is impaired, but a person could smoke marijuana the night before or even two nights before testing and still have that much THC in their blood. Whereas alcohol has clear science linking blood alcohol content to impairment, no such reliable testing has been done on marijuana. It will be interesting to see how the NHTSA responds should the LUCID Act get passed.
Thomas Law Firm – Denver Drunk Driving Lawyers