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What You Need to Know About Marijuana DUIs

What You Need to Know About Marijuana DUIs

Did you know that there are now more marijuana dispensaries in Colorado than there are Starbucks shops? With the growth of the cannabis industry still continuing, arrests for driving under the influence of marijuana has also seen a steady increase as well. However, despite the increasingly legal use of cannabis in Colorado, police still don't have a chemical test to reliably conclude what the drug is doing to your brain, let alone if the side effects of marijuana has a direct influence on a person at the time of their arrest. In other words, they lack the equivalent of an alcohol breathalyzer or blood test that can be used to determine a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

Although blood tests can detect some components of marijuana, there is no widely accepted, standardized amount in the breath or blood that gives police or courts a real sense of the level of impairment. As of now, police use behavioral indicators to judge if a person is impaired by marijuana.

In Colorado, there is a THC blood test that police can use to show "presumed" impairment. Under Colorado law, a person who has more than 5 nanograms of delta-9-THC per milliliter of blood can be found guilty of DUI.

However, according to Tara Lovestead, chemical engineer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colo., the cutoff for marijuana impairment lacks scientific merit. “We just don't know whether or not that means they're still intoxicated, or impaired or not," she said. "There's no quantitative measure that could stand up in a court of law." In fact, studies have shown that frequent marijuana users can have traces of marijuana in their blood for up to 30 days, while other studies have shown that people who don’t use cannabis frequently can smoke a joint and have no evidence of marijuana in their blood when it is tested.

Have you been arrested for driving under the influence of marijuana? Contact our Denver team of DUI attorneys to request a no-cost consultation today.

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