In the past few years, a number of states have legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. While more than half of the states in the U.S. have legalized medical marijuana, just eight states and the District of Columbia have decided that some limited personal use is also permitted. One of these eight states is Washington. The Evergreen State has allowed its citizens to use recreational marijuana since 2012. As with alcohol, there is a per se legal limit of marijuana, specifically the active component THC, that drivers are allowed to have in their system when operating a motor vehicle. This limit is 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood for those over 21 years of age. And as with alcohol, there are drivers who choose to get behind the wheel when under the influence.
One such driver was arrested in May of this year by the Washington State Patrol and the Lynnwood Police. The 53-year old is alleged to have been involved in a hit and run accident just prior to getting pulled over by officers. Witnesses who had seen the collision called the cops and followed the man until he was stopped. Police determined that he “showed signs of intoxication and [he] was ultimately placed in custody for DUI.”
A driver being arrested for driving while high is not generally too newsworthy. What put this particular story on the radar of local news sources was the amount of THC in the driver's system. Though officers obtained a warrant to get a blood sample in May, the results did not come back for several months. It wasn't until July that the toxicology report showed that the man had a staggering amount of the substance in his system. According to My Edmonds News, the blood test “revealed the driver's [THC] levels to be 270 nanograms.” This is 54 times the legal limit in the state.
Marijuana DUI In Georgia
Unlike in Washington, marijuana has not yet been legalized for any reason in the state of Georgia, even medical reasons. Thus, if a driver is found to be under the influence of any level of marijuana while behind the wheel, he or she can be arrested and charged with a DUI. The law in Georgia states, in relevant part: “A person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any moving vehicle while . . . there is any amount of marijuana . . . present in the person's blood or urine, or both, including the metabolites and derivatives of each or both without regard to whether or not any alcohol is present in the person's breath or blood.” The penalty for a First Time DUI can include license suspension, a fine, and possibly some time behind bars.