First DUI Charge Under New Marijuana Law Expected Soon

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More than 130 people have been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs in Washington since a new law allowing people to possess marijuana went into effect Dec. 6.

The law makes it illegal to drive with a blood level of five nanograms of THC. Blood samples from those arrested are being studied at the state’s toxicology lab and should come back within a few weeks.

According to marijuana law experts, the number of people being arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana has spiked in the last year and will likely strengthen under the new law. One fear for marijuana advocates is that people who are not high will still have THC in the system, but the proponents of the law say THC leaves the system within a few hours of ingestion.

There remains a huge debate about how much marijuana use actually affects driving and when it is acceptable for a person to drive after ingesting marijuana. One thing that is clear is that the new law sets a more direct standard for what legally constitutes impairment, so it will be more difficult to fight tickets.

I encourage all drivers to use caution when operating a vehicle. Do not take chances when it comes to making sure you are fully alert and able to drive as well as possible.

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