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Can I get a DUI While Driving High? Yup.

Recreational Marijuana has been legalized in eleven states and DC. Each state has wrestled with designing new laws and regulations that are appropriate and based on research, but with the legalization of recreational use being so new, that is not always easy.

One area of hot debate is how to measure “stoned driving” since according to an article in Medical News Today, “Tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical in marijuana that makes people feel “high,” can stay in the body for several days or even weeks. The length of time this chemical stays in the body or continues to show in a drug test depends on many factors. These include: how much body fat a person has, how often they consume the drug, how much someone smokes, and the sensitivity of the drug test.” All these variables make creating laws far more complicated than laws for drugs such as alcohol which may completely disappear from the body in just a few hours.

Many are concerned about initial research on stoned driving. A recent report by The National Transportation Safety Board found an increase in the number of drug-impaired drivers across the country. The first study found that crashes are up as much as 6% in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado, compared with neighboring states that haven’t legalized recreational use of weed.”

Colorado, one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana, made similar laws regarding driving drunk and driving high, By law, drivers with 5 nanograms of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per milliliter of whole blood can be prosecuted for DUI, the law enforcement does the same field sobriety test for people they suspect for being high as drunk, which includes Horizontal gaze nystagmus, Walk-and-turn test, and One-leg stand.

Driving while impaired by any substance, including marijuana, is illegal in all states. But determining how to assess levels of impairment from marijuana has been more complicated.

Maine is currently working on defining these laws following a 2016 referendum legalizing recreational use of marijuana. A consultant is expected to submit a first draft of proposed adult-use marijuana rules to the state Office of Marijuana Policy on May 9th, putting Maine back on track to open its recreational market by year’s end, state officials say. Along with opening this market by the year 2020, the state is going to have to train state and local police legal amounts of weed and how to tell if they have intent to sell.

According to journalist Laurie Dove, “It’s clear marijuana use negatively affects one’s ability to drive, making a person twice as likely to get in an accident. However, the odds are demonstrably worse when drinking and driving. … The difference in outcomes for stoned drivers versus drunk drivers lies in the way stoned drivers act behind the wheel.”

“I would not recommend doing it unless you have a high tolerance for THC,” said an anonymous Saco resident who has been a long time smoker.

“One time I was driving under the influence of ganja and I sped past a cop out in North Saco so instinctively I ran, little did I know I couldn’t outrun the radio and I had to take my car on a little off-roading, I ended up getting away, but I scratched my car and learned my lesson about driving high,” stated a local college student.

Some students actually claim they are a more focused and less nervous driver after smoking pot. One student said, “The first two times I took my drivers test I was nervous and couldn’t sleep the night before, I even made sure not to smoke the night before so I wouldn’t have the secondary high the morning after, but the third time I took the test I hit my DP (dab pen) before the instructor came out to the car and I ended up passing the test with flying colors.”

No matter what you think about stoned driving, the law currently prohibits anyone under 21 from smoking at all.

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