In response to an apparent loophole in California’s law that legalizes the recreational use of marijuana, a state representative has proposed a new bill that would close it. Currently, the law prohibits people from having an open container of marijuana in their vehicles while they are driving, which is similar to the open-container laws for alcohol.
The loophole is that nothing currently forbids people from smoking marijuana or eating it while they are driving. Under the proposed bill, officers who spot people who are smoking or eating marijuana while they are driving would be able to cite them for doing so as an infraction. Judges could then determine whether or not to penalize people who are convicted of the offense as an infraction or as a misdemeanor offense.
There is no corollary test for impairment levels of marijuana to the tests that are used for impairment levels of alcohol. Researchers are working to develop tests that could be used to determine if a person’s blood concentration of THC is at a level that would impair them. A major problem with developing tests for marijuana is that it can stay in a person’s system for weeks. This means that people could potentially test at a blood level that is greater than any potential set level even though they not impaired.
The legalization of the recreational use of marijuana will likely involve the passage of additional regulations. People may want to keep track of them so that they understand what is allowed and what is not. A person who is charged with a marijuana-related offense such as driving under the influence might want to consult with a criminal defense attorney to see what strategies can be employed to dispute the allegations.