Drugged Driving

Posted on: November 20, 2012

Drugged Driving: A New Arrow in the Government’s Quiver Against Cannabis Consumers

Smoked or ingested Cannabis lately? States are starting to charge those with ANY detectable amounts of cannabinoids in their system with DWI/DUI. As we all know, these detectable amounts remain up to 30 days in your system.

Ten states (Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Rhode Island, Utah, and Wisconsin) have enacted legislation imposing zero tolerant per se thresholds for those that operate a motor vehicle with detectable levels of cannabinoids in blood. Several of these states also impose Zero Tolerance per se policies for those motorists who operate a vehicle with any detectable levels of inert carboxy THC in their urine.

Georgia’s per law was struck down by the court: Love v.State, 517 S.E.2d 53 (1999). Three states have imposed per se DUI limits for cannabinoids or their metabolites: Nevada, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. The per se limits in these states are as follows: Nevada: 2ng/ml THC in blood or 15 ng/ml of carboxy THC in blood or urine; Ohio: 2ng/ml THC in blood or 35 ng/ml of carboxy THC in blood or urine; Pennsylvania: 1ng/ml THC in blood or 1 ng/ml carboxy THC in blood or urine. (Note: Pennsylvania regulators initially set this limit at 5ng/ml, but later lowered it.)

In all of these cases, the present thresholds are based on LLQs (lowest levels of quantitation) which means lawmakers set the thresholds based on the sensitivity of the drug testing technology. These are not evidence based thresholds.

At least two states Minnesota and Virginia impose per se or Zero Tolerance per se laws for illicit drugs but exclude cannabis from the statute.

NORML has state-by-state drugged driving summaries here: http://norml.org/legal/drugged-driving

Herb’s the word.

David Sloane
PIO & Attorney @ DFW NORML