Effect of marijuana on drivers | Loughlin FitzGerald, P.C.
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Effect of marijuana on drivers

Many Connecticut drivers know about the dangers of drinking and driving. With the legalization of marijuana in various states across the country, including Connecticut, drivers may not think about the hazards associated with marijuana. Because marijuana has many uses, ranging from recreational to medicinal, drivers should educate themselves about all of its effects, especially if they plan to drive.

Drivers are increasingly operating their vehicles after smoking marijuana. According to TIME, 12.6 percent of drivers in a recent national survey had marijuana in their system. Marijuana’s impact on drivers was recently studied by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The study’s principal investigator commented that a combination of alcohol and marijuana is most likely to affect a driver’s abilities on the road, giving drivers a higher probability of weaving between lanes. The study also found that drivers under the influence of marijuana usually only weave between lanes, while intoxicated drivers weave at higher speeds, travel faster and leave their lanes. 

While a legal limit for alcohol exists, a limit has yet to be determined for marijuana in many states. Because of the way the body absorbs THC, the high-inducing compound, a legal limit could be determined by many factors. One is the effect that alcohol and marijuana have on each other. People under the influence of both get drunk later and absorb more THC. Although the legal limit in states such as Colorado is 5 ug/L, drivers weaving on the road in the study mentioned above had 13.1 ug/L of THC in their bodies.

Although medical marijuana is legal in Connecticut, people should still be careful of how and when they choose to use it. The NORML Foundation states that Connecticut law includes marijuana usage as grounds for a DUI. The state currently conducts urine tests to prove whether or not people are within acceptable limits. People who rely on medical marijuana may want to check with authorities to see what the legal limit in their area is.

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