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Oklahoma grapples with marijuana impairment rules

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2020 | DUI - Prescription Drugs |

Lawmakers in Oklahoma are trying to take proactive steps to minimize the number of drivers who operate vehicles while impaired by marijuana. Fatal accidents caused by drivers who were under the influence of the substance increased 10% in Washington after the drug was legalized in that state. While it cannot be used for recreational purposes in Oklahoma, medical marijuana is becoming more common in the state.

While impaired driving can be problematic, there is no way to objectively determine if a driver is under the influence of marijuana. The state has considered using drug recognition experts who can be called to the scene of an accident involving someone who seems to be under the influence. He or she may be able to conclusively state whether an individual has used marijuana recently. State officials acknowledge that drug testing alone can’t say whether a person was impaired at the time of a crash.

This is because THC can be spotted in a blood test for days or weeks after a person consumes it. However, the effects of the substance tend to last for only a few hours. Therefore, a person could test positive for THC without actually being impaired. The state may participate in a marijuana Breathalyzer test program similar to one that is being implemented in California.

Individuals who are convicted of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol could spend time in jail and temporarily lose their driving privileges. Accordingly, it may be advisable to meet with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so that a strategy to combat the allegations can be constructed.