States are increasingly concerned about the risks associated with driving while under the influence of marijuana. For example, Charlie Baker, the governor of Massachusetts, is reportedly pushing for a new cannabis-impaired driving bill. According to Mass Live, she is advocating for a bill to be passed that would allow for the suspension of a license for refusal to take a drug test, among other things.
The Mexico Ledger also reported that law enforcement in Missouri plans to “crack down on pot-impaired drivers.” The news report further indicates that, “While cannabis is now legalized for recreational and medicinal use in many states, it is still illegal in all states to drive under the influence of it, the Missouri Department of Revenue stated in a news release.” Marijuana is a Schedule I Controlled Substance under federal law and is illegal. It is also illegal in Missouri.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana significantly impairs “judgment, motor coordination, and reaction time.” Further, according to several studies, there is a link between blood THC concentration and an impaired ability to drive.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also indicates that marijuana can impair driving ability in several ways. For example, it can:
- Slow down reaction time
- Reduce ability to make decisions
- Impair coordination
- Distort perception
- Promote memory loss and mitigate problem solving ability
In addition, “Several studies have shown that drivers with THC in their blood were roughly twice as likely to be responsible for a deadly crash or be killed than drivers who hadn't used drugs or alcohol,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.