Lawmakers Puzzle Over Establishing Legal Limits for THC on the Road
August 22nd, 2014
Policy, Top News
The legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington State has sparked debate among lawmakers about the legal limits for driving. While companies like Cannabix Technologies Inc. [stockquote symbol=BLOZF] are already developing cannabis breathalyzers, lawmakers still don’t know what a legal limit for driving should be amid conflicting evidence from researchers in the space.
“I think it is amazing with some of the hyperventilated rhetoric about marijuana use and THC that … we still don’t’ have enough data to understand how dangerous it is in operating a vehicle,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va, during a congressional hearing on July 31, 2014. Studies have shown that psychoactive THC impairs drivers, but there’s no enough data to show the extent of the impairment.
According to NORML, a marijuana advocacy organization, cannabis intoxication has been shown to mildly impair psychomotor skills, but the impairment does not appear to be severe or long lasting. In driving simulator tests, the impairment is typically manifested by subjects decreasing their driving speed and requiring greater time to respond to emergency situations on the road.
On the opposite side of the argument, Drugless, a partnership for drug abuse prevention, argues that marijuana delays nearly every response within the body and creates a euphoric high that distracts drivers. The National Highway Safety Administration estimates that drugs other than alcohol are involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths with 6.8% of drivers testing positive for THC.
Driving under the influence of marijuana is currently illegal in all 50 states, just as it is to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of any substance that could impair the driver. First-time DUI offenses are usually misdemeanors punishable with jail time and $1,000 fines, along with mandatory substance abuse treatments, suspended or restricted licenses, and an average three years of probation.
Whether marijuana ends up being regulated like alcohol remains to be seen, but in the meantime, researchers will be diligently working to assess just how much the drug actually impairs drivers.
This article was published by CFN Enterprises Inc. (OTCQB: CNFN), owner and operator of CFN Media, the industry’s leading agency and digital financial media network dedicated to the burgeoning CBD and legal cannabis industries. Call +1 (833) 420-CNFN for more information.
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