Legalizing marijuana has been a huge piece of discussion in Colorado for some years now. The old Cheech & Chong movies go back to 1978 when Up In Smoke was first released, with hippies clamoring for legalization all the way back then.
But now, it’s actually here. Those who just want to have a toke and laid back are free to do so, with a few limitations of course. One such limitation is that now that marijuana has become legalized, something had to be done to keep those on the road safe, or at least the public sufficiently placated. That means that driving under the influence of marijuana is considered the same as driving under the influence of any intoxicating drug and that police are much more aware of the issue than previously.
Because of this, there are a few rules that any visitors should keep in mind while trying to navigate these unique laws:
What exactly is Marijuana Impairment?
Marijuana itself is known to cause euphoria, relaxation, and a sort of “slowing down” of mental faculties. This means that the processing of information and response time can be a little slower than usual, resulting in impairment due to marijuana. The level of impairment from marijuana is completely subjective, two people could smoke identical amounts of marijuana and be at different levels of intoxication.
What does Colorado define as a Marijuana DUI?
Any driver that has been tested to have a THC level of over five nanograms in their blood can be prosecuted in court with a DUI charge. Individual police officers have been cautioned to use their best judgement when observing whether or not an individual is truly impaired or not.
Is Medical Marijuana okay?
Unfortunately for those who use marijuana to treat medical ailments, marijuana use in any form is not tolerated as the law considers marijuana an intoxicating substance, even if used for medicinal purposes.
Are there any mitigating factors?
There are some things that can make a marijuana DUI charge more complicated. For instance, if there are children present in the vehicle an additional charge of child abuse may be added. Also, marijuana cannot be consumed on any roadway and any accessible case of open marijuana can be considered an “open container” which comes with its own set of penalties.
Can I refuse a blood test?
Should you decide to refuse a blood test, your driving privileges will be revoked by the state of Colorado. The consequences of refusing a drug test are numerous, which is something that people like M. Trent Trani – criminal defense attorney do their best to mitigate for their clients should they choose to refuse. These consequences include a vehicle ignition interlock device, as well as mandatory drug education classes. These outcomes can occur regardless of conviction.
Legalizing marijuana has come with a plethora of benefits, but that’s not to say it is a free for all where anyone can smoke their lungs out until they pass out. Careful consideration has gone into the DUI laws now that marijuana is legal in the state of Colorado, and it is important for residents and visitors alike make sure they know exactly what the law lays out when it comes to marijuana & getting behind the wheel.