Drunk Driving vs High Driving
What Happens If You Are Caught Driving High?
When it comes to drinking and driving everything is crystal clear. It is forbidden by the law to drive under the influence of alcohol, with more than 0.08 % of the substance in the blood. If the alcohol level is exceeded the penalties are strictly regulated by the law.
But, what about driving under the influence of marijuana? If someone gets to be pulled over, how can police officers be sure that the person was driving after smoking a joint? Is there some kind of breathalyzer tests which can determine marijuana impairment?
Recreational Marijuana in the US
With California, Massachusetts, and Nevada just passing the legislation and making marijuana legal for recreational use, the percentage of Americans living in states where marijuana use is legal for adults rose from 5 percent to above 20 percent.
These states joined five others which legalized marijuana a couple of years back. Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Oregon along with Washington DC already have the experience of the whole process. Still, more than 20 states have decriminalized or legalized cannabis in some way.
Driving High in the US
So, after the process of legalization, some states have regulated driving under the influence of marijuana. In fact, Colorado and Washington made the legal limit of being high before taking the wheel. In these states a person can drive with five nanograms of THC per milliliter of the blood and there are strict penalties for breaking the law.
But, since there is no reliable breathalyzer test on the market for determining THC level in person’s blood or saliva, police officers are trained to recognize driver’s physical signs of impairment and can order the blood sample test.
What Can Canada Expect
Before becoming a prime minister, Justin Trudeau gave a promise to Canadians that he would make marijuana legal for recreational purposes. So, after constructing the liberal government, the process of making the substance legal begun, with expectations to be finished by next spring.
However, Canada can look up to the US states as an example for making legislations regarding drunk driving. Until then, police across the country is testing new devices so that everything would be prepared before the big day comes.
This infographic from OMQ law firm makes a neat comparison of laws in Canada and the USA. It explains the difference between Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), how alcohol and THC levels are measured, and what the existing penalties are.