It is no surprise to most people in Middlesex County that marijuana is illegal in New Jersey. That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t people who smoke marijuana regularly because of a perscription, which raises the question, how high does someone have to be to be arrested for driving while impaired by marijuana? More importantly, how helpful are marijuana tests in determining an individual’s actual impairment?
Being charged with a drug offense can be frustrating and come with consequences. For medical marijuana patients, however, being charged with an offense can be particularly confusing, especially if they thought they were following the rules. Ultimately, if there is any confusion on what the law means, there is the risk of unfair drug prosecutions.
The topic of driving while high is being raised across the country, especially in communities that have medical marijuana or have decriminalized marijuana altogether. Though an out-of-state police spokesperson tried to simplify the situation by saying that police wouldn’t stop a car unless the driver clearly showed signs of impairment, that is not exactly true.
There are people who are pulled over for drunk driving quite frequently for something like a malfunctioning light or for speeding. It is only after the car is stopped and officers approach that they start to think the driver may be intoxicated. The same thing could happen with marijuana: an officer stops the car for a missing light and only chooses to test the driver for marijuana because he or she smells marijuana.
These are just some of the questions that could be raised in the face of a driving while impaired my marijuana charge.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Alternative To Controversial Blood Test For Pot DUIs,” Matt Ferner, Oct. 22, 2013