With the advent of legal marijuana for adults in the State of Washington, I have often been asked: “Are you seeing a rise in Pot DUIs?” The answer is “NO”. While I have many times throughout my legal career defended drivers accused of driving under the influence of marijuana/DUI /drug, I can honestly say that I have not seen an upsurge of marijuana/DUI /drug cases.
The question is “why?” Could it be that Washington State has been slow in the implementation of State run marijuana dispensaries? Could it be that marijuana users just know not to smoke and drive?
Perhaps, according to some, we may not have as much to “fear” from stoned drivers as we do with drunk drivers. In an article in the New York Times, there is some evidence that driving with THC (the active component in marijuana) in the system does not statistically increase the risk of a crash. Compare this with alcohol studies which suggest that there is a 20% increase of a crash if a driver has 0.08% blood alcohol level. A bigger danger, according to some, is the combined levels of alcohol and THC. For more information, see: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/18/health/driving-under-the-influence-of-marijuana.html?_r=0