As Illinois residents may know, Washington, D.C. and 26 states have now legalized marijuana in one form or another. This has some worried about how this might adversely impact motor vehicle drivers and safety on the roads.
Some question the reliability of tests currently used to indicate the presence of THC, the chemical measured in a body, that indicates a subject has used marijuana. According to the Automobile Association of America, the science is not there to indicate that a particular level of THC affects all users the same way. The association indicated that the current limits as a measurement should be abandoned and other methods instituted to obtain a more accurate analysis of impairment. Scientific American reported that some officers used testing that was cobbled together. It noted that scientific data backing up the correlation between impairment and presence of THC is lacking.
While some tests detect the presence of THC in the body, these tests do not measure how much is present. In addition, traces of THC may be present for a long time after the user has eaten or smoked marijuana. Therefore, a driver might possibly test positive for the drug yet be unimpaired at the time of the test.
Companies are now working to develop testing that may be more accurate than that currently available. This reportedly includes oral, breath, saliva and fluid tests. One California company states that it has developed a device that operates like a breathalyzer and measures both the amount and presence of THC in an individual's system. However, the product still requires testing.
An individual who faces a DUI charge for the presence of marijuana may face jail time, potential loss of license and other penalties. An attorney may assist by examining the police report and other evidence and preparing a strong defense.