California voters decided in November 2016 to decriminalize recreational marijuana in small amounts. The drug crime reform sparked controversy and strong arguments from both sides. One of the primary concerns from opponents of the legalization of marijuana was the higher potential for car accidents caused by drivers who had recently smoked marijuana.
It is still illegal for a driver to operate a vehicle while impaired by any substance, whether it is an illegal drug, prescription medication, or alcohol. So long as the driver’s ability to safely control their vehicle is limited due to ingesting the substance, driving becomes a crime. The question becomes whether or not smoking or ingesting marijuana seriously inhibits a driver’s abilities. In this regard, the jury is still out.
How Does Marijuana Affect the Mind?
Legal or not, marijuana is a drug that alters a person’s mind. Depending on who you ask, it seems that the THC content in marijuana can have a myriad of affects. Some people claim to feel elated yet relaxed, others report experiencing panic attacks after using the substance, and more still describe a feeling of aloofness and general confusion.
No matter how you approach the situation, you do not want a person behind the wheel who is experiencing any of the aforementioned potential effects of marijuana and cannabis. Driving is a responsibility that requires a person’s full, undivided attention. Even if a person only experiences a greater sense of relaxation after ingesting or inhaling marijuana, it is reasonable to assume that they have lost some of their ability to focus.
Scientific labs are also facing the challenge of determining how long THC affects a person, and how ingestion method, purity of the substance, and quantity used affects that result. It has been known that traces of THC can remain in a person’s body for weeks after use. Is a minute amount enough to impair them? This is one question of many that needs to be answered.
Drug Use Can Be Linked to Liability
If you get hit by a driver in California and have reason to believe they recently used marijuana, it could potentially strengthen your own claim and take liability away from you. Let Eliot Reiner, APLC hear the details of your accident during a free case evaluation. With the help of our Sacramento car accident attorneys, you might be able to collect fair compensation for your damages by showing marijuana impairment of the other driver caused the crash.