It is a common opinion that if a country or a state legalizes recreational marijuana, it would lead to more stoned drivers taking the wheel. However, even if the statistics shows the increase in the number of high driving arrests, it’s not all black-and-white. Ever since Colorado state has legalized marijuana for recreational use back in 2012, there has been a slight increase in drugged impaired driving arrests. Critics of marijuana legalization will say that this was expected, pointing to studies and statistics that show that countries which legalized marijuana for medical purposes confronted the increase of drugged drivers.
As a matter of fact, the problem lays in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, the principal psychoactive substance of cannabis) remaining in person’s body for days (sometimes even months) after consuming marijuana. So if a driver is pulled over, and even if it’s proved that there is THC in his or her blood, it does not mean that the driver used marijuana before driving.And that’s the main controversy with determining marijuana impairment while driving. We can not know when the driver was consuming cannabis. There are a number of devices (similar to breathalyzers for determining alcohol impairment) currently being tested on the roads, but we’ll have to wait and see if the testing gives reliable results.
Until then, roadside officers in those countries and states are experienced enough to recognize the physical signs of marijuana impairment, like eye redness, in order to keep roads safe.This infographic made by OMQ law office shows how Canada and some US states are dealing with drivers under the influence of marijuana. Their experience surely can serve as an example for other countries determined to legalize the substance.