Controversy has surrounded laws governing DUI-Drug prosecutions since their inception. Holding criminal prosecutions of illicit substance impairment to similar standards as alcohol sounds flawed on the surface. A high blood-alcohol level very clearly inhibits your reaction time and better judgement, but drug-use, specifically marijuana or cannabis, has more subtle effects. And yet, that hasn’t stopped 11 states from imposing zero tolerance laws, also known as per se laws, in regards to operating a vehicle or machinery with THC (the primary psychoactive constituent of cannabis). And in 2012, the White House National Drug Control Strategy Report called for the implementation of such laws nationwide.
An official report the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released in November of 2014 is stirring up opinions, though. The article – which can be read in full here – claims that any impairment THC might cause is dissimilar from alcohol-caused impairment, and that there was inadequate reasoning to make a connection between drug use and an increased crash risk. Data collected in the past was insufficient, perhaps due to a limited range of subjects, and the results were hazy, at best. It even goes further to say that “a driver who tests positive for a drug is not necessarily impaired by the drug.” The Dude abides.
As another article recently posted by the High Times suggests, the entire system needs to be reevaluated. Not surprisingly, their position is that if people on our roadways are being pulled over and arrested for driving while under the influence of cannabis and other related substances, but there is no hard evidence to suggest that they were impaired by its use at all, there has obviously been an obstruction of their civil liberties.
Contact my firm if you have further questions or need representation in a DUI-Drug case.