Driving under the influence of a drug (DUID) is illegal, which is making things complicated for people who use marijuana either recreationally or medicinally.
The problem? It’s much harder for police officers to determine who is driving while drugged than it is to determine who has been driving while intoxicated. The charge relies heavily on an officer’s observations and beliefs, which could expose drivers to an officer’s biases.
As the legalization of marijuana spreads throughout the nation, the issue is making traffic stops more difficult than ever. A Breathalyzer test can often confirm an officer’s suspicions that someone is driving drunk by showing a blood alcohol content (BAC) that’s in line with that theory. On the other hand, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, only has an effect on the user for a few hours — yet can remain in someone’s system at detectable levels for a month after its last use.
In Colorado, a 2017 program had state patrol officers ask for voluntary saliva samples whenever they arrested someone for potentially “driving while stoned.” The officers were looking for a substance known as delta-9 THC, which is the specific substance in cannabis that scientists think may cause impairment. Delta-9 THC may be detectable in saliva for up to 90 minutes after someone uses marijuana.
Wisely, most people declined to participate in the test and avoided potentially incriminating themselves. The majority of people may have realized that it’s never in your best interests to freely provide the police with any potential evidence that might later be used against you.
With that in mind, you should never accept a conviction for drugged driving as a foregone conclusion. Learn more about your options on our website or contact us directly to discuss your case.