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Pot and driving: considerations on consumption, legal thresholds

It is certainly an understatement to note that American states collectively lack any strong uniformity regarding a legal response to motorists who smoke marijuana and drive.

In fact, the laws that address pot and driving across the country are highly varied. Moreover, some states have no statutory provisions at all that set forth a standard regarding an in-system pot level that will qualify a driver as being unlawfully impaired by marijuana consumption.

And the lack of a common standard and evaluative method for determining what "high" really is or means is rendered even murkier when DUI laws are paraded out and comparatively examined.

Because those laws are, of course, well established. As noted in a recent article discussing the lack of any clarity regarding the effects of marijuana on drivers, the current legal threshold of 0.08 percent for driving drunk is the same all across country, and has been so for years. Alcohol consumption can be tested through breath, blood and saliva, and the tests for doing so are well developed and long-tenured.

Conversely, the "science" regarding a legal threshold for being high on pot is far from being, well, scientific. There is certainly no widespread agreement on how to measure behind-the-wheel impairment, and there are even studies -- multiple research efforts, in fact -- that have found scant impairment in drivers who have ingested marijuana, even directly before driving.

Questions regarding motoring and marijuana are many and intriguing, especially because the strong anti-pot stance held by some individuals and groups is coupled with ever-increasing liberalization in marijuana laws across the country.

We will look at the subject matter a bit more closely in our next blog post.

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