As anyone who’s ever smoked marijuana knows, getting a job, even weeks after smoking a single joint (or part of a joint), can be daunting. Many, if not most employers now require drug tests. In Arizona, even driving to the job interview can be risky. According to an Arizona appeals court ruling, you might now be guilty of a DUI even if you aren’t currently under the influence. You could be guilty of a DUI if you even have residual marijuana in your system, which can remain for weeks. From StopTheDrugWar.org:
The ruling in Arizona v. Shilgevorkyan overturned a decision by a superior court judge who said that it didn’t make sense to prosecute people for driving under the influence if they’re not actually under the influence.
The appeals court disagreed, citing its decisions on earlier challenges to the DUID. “The legislature intended to create a ‘per se prohibition’ and a ‘flat ban’ on driving with any proscribed drug in one’s system,” the court noted. “We determined that the legislative ban extends to all substances, whether capable of causing impairment or not.”
Because the law was drafted to protect public safety, the appeals court said, it should be interpreted broadly to include inactive as well as active compounds.
Opponents of the ruling argue that the law unfairly punishes medical marijuana users in the state, especially if they aren’t driving under the influence. It also discourages tourists, especially from nearby states like Colorado, which has legalized marijuana, and California, which also has legal medical marijuana.
Determining if a driver is driving while impaired from marijuana is a challenge for law enforcement. There is currently no standard to determine how much THC is too much THC, so cops basically guess. They do rely on blood tests, but even then, safe levels of THC vary from person to person. Some police departments use a series of eye tests to determine if a driver is currently stoned. Here’s a video:
Ultimately, as legal marijuana use becomes more and more prevalent, it will probably be up to the Supreme Court to determine what is reasonable and what is not when a driver is suspected of being high. Shilgevorkyan’s attorney plans on taking his case to the Arizona state Supreme Court.
|Wendy Gittleson grew up in a political family. Her passion is for social justice and fairness. She is the Senior Editor for Addicting Info. She lives in a union household. In her rare downtime, you’ll find her hiking or exploring the shoreline with her dogs. Follow her on her Facebook page or on Twitter, @wendygittleson|