Fifteen years ago, if you would have said nearly half of all states will legalize medical marijuana, you likely would have been laughed at. Even five years ago, using marijuana recreationally was illegal nationwide. Now, you can smoke weed legally in 5 different states. Philadelphia is also taking a pro-marijuana stance, decriminalizing possession of a small amount and reducing the fine to just $25.
Yet, whether you are in a state like Pennsylvania that bans marijuana use altogether or in a state like Colorado with full legalized use, one thing remains the same: driving high is still considered driving under the influence. Yet, the active ingredient in pot, THC, can remain in your system for months after use. As such, field tests are anything but accurate. Researchers are working on fixing this problem.
A Case of Bad Breath
Hound Labs, based in Oakland, California, say they have found a way to determine whether a driver has smoked weed recently. THC only remains in your breath for a few hours after smoking. This allows officers to more accurately catch people who shouldn’t be on the road. But that still poses a problem.
Very little research has gone into the effects of pot when it comes to driving. You may know someone who says they are an excellent driver when they are high, and they may be right. As of now, there are not any real guidelines comparing, say, a driver’s BAC after five beers to their intoxication level after half a joint. But the issues go much deeper than that.
To Each Their Own
When it comes to marijuana, everyone is affected differently. A veteran smoker may feel very little after two joints, whereas an inexperienced one may feel incredibly high after just two puffs. In addition, some people feel the effects of marijuana for up to 24 hours after they smoke, while others have no side effects even a couple hours later. This poses a major issue for law enforcement officers. Pennsylvania’s legal limit is just one nanogram of THC per milliliter of blood. Someone who had their first joint at Woodstock may feel nothing at that level. Should they be taken off the road?
It’s also important to consider the effects of different strains of marijuana. Some have a much higher THC level than others, but weaker strains may still give a powerful high and would not show up on these new Breathalyzers. As the technology stands now, it can often be just as inaccurate as blood tests.
Marijuana DUI in Pennsylvania
Multiple companies are currently working on this problem, and the technology will soon catch up with the drug laws. However, in Pennsylvania, use of any kind of marijuana is illegal. That means if you are caught driving high, it could lead to serious problems.
If you have been arrested for a drug-related DUI, call us today. We offer a free initial consultation in which we will review the details of your case and recommend a course of action.