Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP
After marijuana vote, California prepares to grapple with drug DUIs

Will police see more stoned drivers since Prop 64?

Recreational marijuana may be legal in California with the passage of Proposition 64, but that doesn’t give drivers a free pass to smoke up. The state’s existing laws regarding impaired driving remain in place, and it is still against the law to drive under the influence of drugs – including alcohol, prescriptions and marijuana.

The California Highway Patrol is launching a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of impaired driving, according to the Sacramento Bee. While these campaigns have typically focused on drunk driving, those messages are evolving to include marijuana and prescription drugs as potential dangers.

What constitutes “impairment?”

That’s the question on the mind of regulators, safety officials and law enforcement officers all over the state. Because marijuana remains in the body much longer than alcohol, it is possible to test positive long after any effects have faded.

Some lawmakers are pushing to allow police officers to use a roadside saliva test that detects recent exposure to marijuana. The bill they’re proposing wouldn’t introduce a unified standard; rather, it would give police another tool to investigate.

The best way to avoid drugged driving charges is to make alternative transportation arrangements if you plan to use marijuana. Consider riding with a sober friend, take public transit or use a ride-sharing app to protect yourself – and everyone else on the road.

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