Law Enforcement Agencies have special DUID (marijuana) enforcement efforts planned for early 2014. If you are charged with a DUID in relation to marijuana use, please contact our office immediately. We have the experience and are committed to knowing the most up-to-date laws in regard to marijuana related DUID cases.
General Information in regards to Marijuana Use
How does marijuana use affect driving?
One of the key questions Colorado lawmakers had to wrestle with in setting up a legal marijuana market: When is someone too stoned to drive? The answer isn’t simple.
Prosecutors and some state lawmakers have long sought strict blood-level limits for THC. Many marijuana advocates argue that the drug affects people differently and that setting a fixed “per se” limit could lead to wrongful DUID (Driving Under the Influence of Drugs) convictions. They also argue that, unlike with alcohol, traces of the drug remain in the bloodstream long after an individual has smoked pot. Officials in favor of blood-level limits say tests can pinpoint “active” THC in the bloodstream in the hours immediately after marijuana usage.
Studies have shown that smoking marijuana tends to affect spatial perceptions. Drivers might swerve or follow other cars too closely. They can lose concentration and have slower reaction times. Such findings have led some researchers to conclude that driving while high greatly increases the chances for an accident, and that smoking pot and drinking before driving is a particularly dangerous mix.
Every state forbids driving under the influence. But convictions in DUID cases generally rely on the observations and testimony of police officers rather than blood tests. The White House, in a drug policy paper last year, called on states to adopt blood-limit laws in an effort to reduce DUID, but states continue to take different approaches.
Last year, Colorado lawmakers approved a bill that creates a “permissive inference” that someone with a certain level of THC in their blood is impaired. Drivers suspected of driving while high generally would have to consent to have their blood drawn, and they could lose their license if they refuse.
How much marijuana is safe to use? Can you overdose?
There is no recorded case of someone dying from an overdose of marijuana, but it has been a factor in accidents and related medical issues can lead to death.
The concentration of THC in seized samples of illegal marijuana has been increasing over the past 30 years, with the average potency more than doubling since 1998, leading to concern about the consequences for young users. But scientists don’t know much about the effects of higher concentrations on the body and brain.
How does marijuana use affect the young?
Last year, Canadian and American researchers reviewed more than 120 studies examining cannabis and its effects on the teenage brain. They found strong indications that early marijuana use can alter development and contribute to mental health problems later in life.
“When you smoke marijuana, you cannot memorize or learn as you should,” Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said recently on NPR’s “The Diane Rehm Show.”
Volkow added: “What we know about the marijuana, as well as other drugs, is that the effects of drugs in the human brain are not the same when you take them as a child, adolescent or as an adult, and this is because there are significant changes in the brain as we go in the transition from childhood into adulthood.”
What are its medicinal uses?
About 20 states and the District of Columbia allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Most patients seek the drug for controlling pain from medical conditions including cancer, nervous system diseases, glaucoma and migraines. It is also being used to treat nausea and improve appetites of people with HIV or chronic illnesses.
What’s the difference between smoking marijuana and consuming it in food, powders or liquid extracts?
When marijuana is smoked, THC moves almost immediately from the lungs to the bloodstream and to the brain. The effects can last one to three hours. If it’s eaten, say in brownies or cookies, it can take 30 minutes to an hour to have an effect, but the high can last up to four hours.