Driving While High?

April 25th, 2012 by DaytonDUI Leave a reply »
3D rendering of the THC molecule

3D rendering of the THC molecule

Today, 90 million Americans have the right to access medical marijuana when they are seriously ill.  Ohioans will consider the passage of a medical marijuana bill this fall.  As more states decriminalize and legalize marijuana, law enforcement is scrambling to deal with what it warns will be a dramatic increase in driving while stoned.  What can we expect?

LAW ENFORCEMENT RESPONSE. Many states have adopted a specified training regimen for law enforcement officers.  This protocol allows officers to testify as to specific observations of marijuana impairment.  Drug Recognition Experts (DRE) are trained to recognize when an individual has been driving under the influence of drugs and to identify the type of drug causing impairment.  Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) refers not only to the officers themselves, but to the 12-step procedure that these officers use. DRE was developed by police officers from the Los Angeles (California) Police Department. In 1979, the Drug Recognition program received the official recognition of the LAPD. As of 2005, approximately 6000 police officers are certified as Drug Recognition Experts.  Ohio has not adopted the DRE protocol… yet.

STATUTORY RESPONSE. Several states, including Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and Utah have adopted a “zero tolerance” approach to marijuana impairment while driving. Other states including Ohio, Pennsylvania and Nevada have attempted to set arbitrary levels which presume impairment.  These laws are similar to the familiar drunk driving laws which set a limit of .08% BAC.  Ohio, which also imposes a limit of 2 ng/mL for THC blood tests, and 10 ng/mL for THC urine tests. For the marijuana metabolite THC-COOH, Ohio’s limit is 50 ng/mL in blood and 35 ng/mL in urine; the limits are lower if the metabolite is detected along with alcohol or other drugs.

SCIENTIFIC RESPONSE.  As reported in this Reuters story, scientists are hard at work developing a roadside test for drivers who are impaired by marijuana.  It may soon be economically feasible to test drivers by using a quick saliva test which detects the presence of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in pot.   The saliva THC test is in its final phases of testing.

DUI attorney Charles M. Rowland II dedicates his practice to defending the accused drunk driver in DaytonSpringfieldKetteringVandaliaXenia,MiamisburgSpringboroHuber HeightsOakwoodBeavercreekCenterville and throughout Ohio.  He has the credentials and the experience to win your case and has made himself the Miami Valley’s choice for DUI defense.  Contact Charles Rowland by phone at 937-318-1DUI (937-318-1384), 937-879-9542, or toll-free at 1-888-ROWLAND (888-769-5263).  For after-hours help contact our 24/7 DUI HOTLINE at 937-776-2671.  For information about Dayton DUI sent directly to your mobile device, text DaytonDUI (one word) to 50500.  Follow DaytonDUI on Twitter @DaytonDUI or Get Twitter updates via SMS by texting DaytonDUI to40404. DaytonDUI is also available on Facebook and on the DaytonDUI channel on YouTube.  You can also email Charles Rowland at:CharlesRowland@DaytonDUI.com or write to us at 2190 Gateway Dr., Fairborn, Ohio 45324.

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