Document Type

Article

Disciplines

Criminal Law | Evidence

Comments

The usage of marijuana has become more accepted in the United States over time. Thirty states have medical marijuana programs and nine states have legalized marijuana for recreational use. Politicians and public interest groups have widely debated the de-criminalization of marijuana use on the federal level. However, as with legalizing any mind-altering substance, there are issues that need to be considered. One of these issues is the arrest and prosecution of people driving under the influence of marijuana. There are several problems with efficient testing for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive cannabinoid in marijuana. THC is fat soluble and can be stored in the fatty tissues of the body and released back into the blood in the days or weeks after consumption. In addition, THC levels in the blood and bodily excretions do not correlate directly to the level of intoxication or impairment. Due to these characteristics and others, there is currently no consistent and accurate way to test for marijuana intoxication. This paper will examine several of the tests that are currently used to test for marijuana intoxication: Blood, urine, and standardized field sobriety tests. This paper will also examine an emerging technology, called the “Marijuana Breathalyzer,” which is claimed to detect the trace amounts of THC in breath. Finally, this paper will conclude that, to convict a person of DUI, the cumulative scientific evidence must be indicative of actual impairment.

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