With states such as Colorado and Washington legalizing recreational use of marijuana for adults, lawmakers have postulated several questions about the potential effects of this for driving and driving safety. Both sides recognize that the psycho-motor and cognitive effects of cannabis use can affect vehicle control and judgment but the threshold for how high is high is still being debated by lawmakers and traffic safety advocates. Based on several studies, the legalized states have determined the current level of evidence of impairment as five nano-grams per milliliter of blood of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).
In a recent study, however, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, found that the legal limits, also known as per se limits, for marijuana and driving are unsupported by science. The study compared drivers who had only THC present in their systems to drivers who had tested positive for one or more cannabinoids. The results indicated that the current threshold misclassified a substantial number of drivers as impaired who did not demonstrate impairment and drivers who would have misclassified a substantial number of unimpaired who did not demonstrate impairment.
Because of these inaccuracies, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety urges legalized states to also look for behavioral and physiological evidence through field sobriety tests. Examples of these tests include finger-to-nose, walk-and-turn, and the one-leg-stand test.
Further research of the threshold and better testing methods is imperative because they could influence Illinois and eleven other states currently fighting for the decriminalization of marijuana. If pot decriminalization were passed, the level of THC allowed would be five nano-grams per milliliter of blood of THC (the same level utilized by current legalized states). Nicole Rhim
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