Senate Bill 8 criminally penalizes motorists who drive with levels of THC above 2 ng/ml in their blood and/or levels of the inactive marijuana metabolite THC-COOH in their urine above 35 ng/ml. Ohio is only the third state to pass per se DUID (driving under the influence of drugs) legislation for motorists with trace levels of THC in their blood, and it is the sixth to criminalize motorists who drive with levels of non-psychoactive marijuana metabolites in their bodily fluid.
NORML Senior Policy Analyst Paul Armentano called SB 8 an “all out assault on Ohio’s marijuana smoking community.” He said: “THC may remain detectable in the blood at low levels long after the intoxicating effects of the drug have worn off. In addition, marijuana’s main metabolite remains detectable in urine for days and sometimes weeks after past use. As a result, this legislation may potentially and improperly define sober drivers as if they were intoxicated. Someone who smokes marijuana is impaired as a driver at most for a few hours, certainly not for days or weeks. To treat all marijuana smokers as if they are impaired, even when the drug’s effects have long worn off, is illogical and unfair.”
Armentano added, “Ohio already has effect-based laws on the books targeting and prosecuting drivers who operate a motor vehicle ‘under the influence’ of illicit drugs. Under Section 4511.19 of Ohio’s Revised Code, motorists face up to six months in jail if they drive ‘while under the influence of a drug of abuse.’ By contrast, SB 8 creates a separate crime of ‘drugged driving’ that is, potentially, divorced from impairment. This troubling bill looks to be nothing more than an attempt by the legislature to misuse the traffic safety laws to target the state¹s cannabis community.”