About Tomorrow: Arbitrary THC Limits & Driving

U.K. has rolled out this swab and with probable cause an officer can test an individual and detect marijuana
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U.K. has rolled out this swab and with probable cause an officer can test an individual and detect marijuana

Once the world “re-legalizes”, how will a police officer detect if a driver is impaired by cannabis?  Hail Mary Jane has been following this issue for a long time.  Limits on THC metabolites have emerged and answered the question.  And here’s the latest twist in the story — such limits mean nothing.


Per se limits for THC are arbitrary and may misclassify drivers who are not behaviorally impaired, according to the findings of a study published this week by the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Per se driving limits criminalize the act of operating a motor vehicle if the driver possesses detectable amounts of specific drugs or drug metabolites above a set threshold. Under these laws, drivers are guilty per se of violating the traffic safety laws even absent evidence of demonstrable impairment.

Five states – Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington – presently impose per se limits for the detection of specific amounts of THC in blood while eleven states (Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, and Wisconsin) impose zero tolerant per se standards.

However, the AAA report concluded, “[A] quantitative threshold for per se laws for THC following cannabis use cannot be scientifically reported.” This is because the body metabolizes THC in a manner that is significantly distinct from alcohol.

The complete original post is HERE.

I say this is a phony issue. There is no need for breathalyzers in alcohol investigations, they just make things easier for law enforcement and prosecution. The real test of impairment is a functional, experimentally proven, roadside sobriety test. And that takes work and discretion. Two thing no longer in vogue.

[Aside: In 2016, most places blood alcohol level at .08 or above is considered impaired. When the breathalyzer machine first appeared the impairment level was .15  Fun fact to know]

The roadside sobriety test would suffice for cannabis impairment and this should not be a stumbling block on the road to re-legalization.

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Author: DavidB

a heathen, but hopefully not an unenlightened one

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