A new measure on the ballot in Washington would legalize recreational marijuana use but would also set a legal impairment level for THC, the active ingredient in the drug, according to the Seattle Times.
The science regarding how much marijuana affects driving ability remains highly debated. Some studies find that five nanograms of THC per millimeter of blood is roughly equivalent to 0.05 percent blood-alcohol level impairment.
The provision in the law to set impairment levels has been met with mixed reactions even within the pro-legalization community. Proponents say smokers just need to avoid driving when they might be “high.” However, others worry that innocent people could be prosecuted based on questionable science.
One of the reasons marijuana effects on driving have been difficult to study is that there is a federal ban on using the drug, and researchers do not want to break the law.
As more people across the country push for legalization, this is a debate that will likely surface often in the future. These debates highlight some of the difficult issues that relate to driving safety.
Whatever law is passed or not passed, I encourage everyone to be responsible. If you feel that your reaction time might be delayed or your decision-making impaired, please stay off the roadways.