Recently on our DUI forum a user asked, “Recreational marijuana use just became legal in my state of Colorado, but I am concerned about whether or not I can drive after smoking? What do I need to know about DUI and marijuana use?”
DUI and Marijuana use
Although some states are just in the first stages of developing laws for marijuana use and driving it is important to understand marijuana is not exactly like alcohol, and scientists are not as clear about what blood level ofTHC(the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) constitutes actual impairment. There is also much less data about marijuana use and driving impairment.
Scientists do acknowledge, however, that a driver would need to do a blood test, rather than a urine test, to determine the actual amount of THC in a driver’s blood. But even with a blood test, it is not always clear whether a certain level of THC in the blood stream actually has made it impossible for a driver to safely operate their car.
Colorado and DUI laws
So what do you need to know if you live in the state of Colorado? The Colorado Department of Transportation has instituted a campaign called The Heat is On. This campaign highlights the dangers of driving high, which they note is just as deadly, dangerous, and illegal as driving while under the influence of alcohol
Colorado law Enforcement Can Spot the Signs
Colorado police officers have also undergone special training to detect those who are driving under the influence of marijuana. The newly trained officers are called Drug Recognition Experts and are not only trained to identify drugged drivers but also have the authority to perform chemical tests if they have reasonable grounds to believe a driver is impaired.
If you are arrested for DUI due to marijuana and you refuse to submit to a chemical test you will have your driver’s license immediately suspended for one year, you will be required to install an ignition interlock device on your car for two years, and you will have to take alcohol education classes.
Is marijuana really that dangerous?
There has been a new push not only to decriminalize marijuana use, but also to downplay the dangerous effects it can have on drivers. Experts contend, however, that drugged driving can have deadly consequences by reducing a driver’s reaction time, hand-eye coordination, concentration and memory.
So how much is too much marijuana? If you live in the state of Colorado, according to the DPS, a driver is impaired if they have “five nanograms of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per milliliter of whole blood.”
If you have questions about your level of impairment, it is always better to avoid driving. Visit the Colorado’s Department of Transportation website for more information about their drugged driving campaign.
Hiring a DUI lawyer
If you have been arrested for driving while under the influence of marijuana, you may need immediate legal help. Just like driving under the influence of alcohol, there are serious consequences for not only refusing a chemical test but also getting charged with DUI.
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