Marijuana laws in the United States are changing rapidly. It seems every few months another state has another bill to introduce, either in favor or against in some way. It is a controversial subject with remnants of prohibition days thrown about. Someone traveling across the country be alternately criminal and noncriminal as they sped down the Interstate. Regardless of the laws for possession, all states have outlawed the use of marijuana while driving. Marijuana is widely used, not only throughout the United States, but the world. It is said to be the most widely used of all illicit drugs. No matter how common it is or how innocent the public believes it to be, use of marijuana causes delayed reactions due to physical and mental impairment that can impair driving.
Far more research has been done on driving under the influence of alcohol than marijuana. Research into marijuana highs tells us it has physical and mental effects that will impair the ability to drive. THC is the element in marijuana which causes the adverse effects. While some states do test impaired drivers for specific target levels of THC, California does not define specific levels to qualify as under the influence. Statistics have shown roughly 6 to 11 percent of fatal accident victims test positive for THC. Although significantly lower than alcohol fatal statistics, it is still a public safety issue that must be adequately addressed.
Penalties for driving under the influence of marijuana are the same as driving under the influence of alcohol as per California Vehicle Code 23152(e) VC. The fact that California does not detect specific measures of THC in it’s DUI marijuana arrests, it can make those cases hard to prove. The prosecution must be able to prove a person was driving a vehicle, was under the influence of marijuana and that said marijuana impaired the person’s driving ability in order to convict them of DUI.