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Driving under the influence of marijuana.

As most of you may know, two dispensaries in Massachusetts; Cultivate, in Leicester, and New England Treatment Access, in Northampton, have begun selling marijuana for recreational usage. Before patronizing your nearest dispensary, it is important that you are aware of Massachusetts’ state laws regarding Marijuana consumption.

One of the largest issues related to the legalization of Marijuana, is how to measure an individual’s level of impairment while driving. It is illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana; however, the police do not currently have a definitive test to determine the driver’s level of impairment. A blood test can prove whether or not marijuana is in one’s system; however, THC can remain in one’s system long after its cognitive and physical effects have passed. Thus, a blood test is not a fair assessment. Currently, the protocol in place is similar to that of suspected alcohol intoxication. Police will look for similar cues when pulling someone over (I.e. swerving, driving slowly, or erratically). They will then subject the driver to a roadside test regarding balance, cognition and reflexes. However, this test is legally inconclusive. The police may decide to contact a Drug Recognition Expert: an officer that is certified in the ability to field test for drug impaired drivers. Currently, there is no law that requires you to consent to a Drug Recognition Expert.

Despite the lack of conclusive testing, you can still get an OUI for marijuana impairment. Officers can cite any observations, drug paraphernalia, excessive quantities, or field tests as evidence. If you have been arrested for operating under the influence of marijuana, contact Briones Law Group to set up a consult. We will use our experience to assist in your defense. In the midst of the excitement regarding these new developments in the Massachusetts Cannabis industry, be aware of the state rules and regulations, and consume responsibly.

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