Kentucky Senator Perry Clark has introduced a bill that would allow medical marijuana to be used in the state. According to WDRB, the senator has introduced a similar bill twice before but hopes this time it will pass.
Before Kentucky legalizes medical marijuana, however, the state must be prepared to address a growing number of concerns about stoned driving. Driving while under the influence of marijuana can be dangerous. A personal injury lawyer knows that marijuana use can result in delayed reaction time. As FDL Reporter indicates, marijuana use also reduces your peripheral vision, makes you less able to multi-task and forces you to use more of your brain to complete simple tasks effectively.
States that are legalizing marijuana for either medical use or recreational use are taking different approaches to preventing drivers from getting behind the wheel after they have smoked or consumed cannabis products. Unfortunately, the ABA Journal indicates that scientists and experts call the regulation of stoned driving an “imperfect science.”
Keeping Stoned Drivers off the Roads
One way to regulate stoned driving is to leave it up to law enforcement to use their discretion to determine if someone is impaired. Oregon has the legalization of marijuana on the ballot but does not set limits on the amount of a drug someone can have in their blood stream, so their approach would be to leave the issue up to police. Unfortunately, without clear objective limits, it could be harder to determine if someone was too stoned to drive and it could be harder for prosecutors to effectively prosecute people who had consumed too much cannabis before getting behind the wheel.
Another approach to take is to set limits on the maximum amount of active THC someone can have in their body before being classified as impaired. Both Colorado and Washington State have taken this approach. If a person has more than 5 nanograms of active THC in his body, he or she is considered to be breaking the law.
The problem with setting THC limits is that scientists haven’t actually shown that there is a direct and measurable link between the amount of THC and your level of impairment. As one forensic lab supervisor said “The concentration of THC in the blood does not correlate to the effects.”
A British study also showed that while euphoria after smoking peaks after around 30 minutes, a person’s THC levels peak much sooner in just 10 minutes. A person could be most affected by the drug, and least capable of driving, at a time when his or her THC levels have started to fall.
If Kentucky decides to move forward and legalize cannabis, it will need to determine how best to address this issue will need to make this decision quickly. Since legalization of marijuana in Washington state last year, there has been a 25 percent increase in the number of drivers who test positive for marijuana. In Colorado, studies have shown that between 1994 and 2011, the share of drivers involved in fatal motor vehicle collisions testing positive for marijuana has more than doubled. People on the roads are at risk, and states need to learn how to protect motorists from fellow drivers who may be too stoned to be safe.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, car accident lawyers in Louisville can help. Call Shelton Law Group today at 888-761-7204 or visit http://robsheltonlaw.com.previewdns.com for a free case consultation.