Avoiding a DUI on 4/20

The definition of cannabis-impaired driving is hazy. A study conducted by The Zebra on cannabis users in states that have legalized marijuana shows a need for clearer guidelines on what cannabis impairment means.

The study aimed to understand the driving and cannabis consumption habits of cannabis users in legal states. Over half of the participants categorized themselves as frequent users of cannabis. A general consensus from participants is that they want clear, tangible guidelines on just how much cannabis will constitute impairment. While alcohol users have clear definitions of what constitutes a DUI, cannabis users do not.

One participant told The Zebra, “It doesn’t matter how much I smoke, I drive fine.”

The lack of research and guidelines leaves cannabis users to either abstain from driving entirely or, in many cases, decide on their own if they are impaired. 40.9% of the study participants said they never drive under the influence of cannabis, the remaining 59.1% admit to driving under some degree of impairment.

The truth is that cannabis effects everyone differently; the frequency, type of cannabis, and individuals genetic makeup are all variables in the efficacy of cannabis. Colorado suggests that 10 mg of THC is enough to impair an occasional cannabis user, however, that also depends on the aforementioned variables.

cannabis impaired driving marijuana dui

68% of The Zebra study’s participants said they wait 2 to 4 hours before driving after getting high. The Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board recommends drivers wait at least 5 hours to drive after inhaling cannabis, and longer if they’ve consumed an edible. 

Quick Facts On Cannabis-Impaired Driving:

  • Most drivers decide if they’re OK to drive under the influence of cannabis based on how impaired they feel.
  • Cannabis’ contribution to car crashes and traffic fatalities is unclear.
  • 40% said were “very likely” to plan for a ride before drinking alcohol, but only 25% said the same for cannabis.
  • Nearly half of drivers noticed that their driving skills were impaired while they were under the influence of cannabis.
  • 60% of the study’s participants agree that driving under the influence of alcohol is more dangerous than that of cannabis.
  • Over half of the study group said that they believe texting and driving is more dangerous than driving under the influence of cannabis.

One thing is for certain, if you are pulled over and administered a field sobriety test, it won’t matter if you’re carrying a medical card or not. Cannabis users are treated the same way across the board for impairment, whether they were medicating or using recreationally.

The Director of Marketing at The Zebra, Alyssa Connoly, has this suggestion for 420 celebrators, “We know police forces in many states are going to be extra vigilant this weekend, watching specifically for impaired driving and possibly conducting more field sobriety tests. We recommend finding safe alternate transportation and just not driving at all if you’re planning to use marijuana.”

In short, plan your driving trips this weekend accordingly. It’s better to be safe than sorry. In preparation, memorize this script from The Pot Brothers at Law, and share it with your friends and family.


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Featured image via Trail Daily Times.