One of the biggest (non-political) debates happening in the country right now centers around the legalization and regulation of recreational marijuana. There are so many variants regarding the use of marijuana; it is hard to truly regulate its use. Although the use and possession of marijuana are now legal in some states, it is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana in any state. Impaired driving, whether caused by alcohol or drugs, produces thousands of motor vehicle accidents every year. In fact, in the states where marijuana is legal, there has been an increase in automobile accidents. Many believe there is a correlation to the rise in accidents in conjunction with recreational marijuana use. If you find yourself a part of an accident where the cause was an impaired driver, trust the expertise of an auto accident attorney near Orlando from Injury Assistance Law Firm.
Marijuana Legality: The Basics
According to federal law, marijuana is still considered an illegal controlled substance. However, the laws regarding possession, sales, or intake of marijuana differ from state to state. These laws are changing more and more as time goes on. As of December 2018, thirty-seven states have legalized medical marijuana, nine states plus Washington, D.C. have legalized recreational marijuana, and four states still leave marijuana prohibited for any use. While Florida falls under the list of legalized medical marijuana, any auto accident attorney near Orlando can probably tell you that legal or not, there are still plenty of accidents where drivers have been under the influence. Each state has its own limits of what can be sold, purchased, or possessed at any given time- but marijuana is still hard to regulate.
Impaired Driving: How Much is Too Much?
When dealing with a suspected impaired driver, the most important thing is to see what they might be intoxicated from. When it comes to marijuana, this can be difficult to gauge. Of course, there are the obvious physical signs that make for great comedy in the movies, but actually testing for it to prove in court is a whole other ball of wax. When someone has had too much to drink, their blood alcohol levels can be tested. Because alcohol metabolizes fairly quickly, it is easy to estimate how much they had and how long they were drinking for. With that said, marijuana works differently. To see if someone uses marijuana, THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol is the main ingredient that causes intoxication; these THC levels are what can be measured. The problem is that THC can remain in the body weeks after a person has used marijuana, especially if they are a chronic user. Because THC testing is so unreliable, it is hard to say without a reasonable doubt that someone was intoxicated while driving. This is one of the gray areas that can affect future legislation regarding the legalization of marijuana in other areas of the country.
Whether it is due to marijuana intoxication or other drugs or alcohol, impaired driving is always a risk that is never worth taking. If you have been involved in an accident near Orlando involving an impaired driver, call or visit Injury Assistance Law Firm today for information on how you should proceed.