“It is difficult to establish a relationship between a person’s THC blood or plasma concentration and performance impairing effects.” – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Officials in Montana are considering a blood test to be administered to drivers to check for levels of THC; police say this is necessary to see who is driving “impaired.”

420times_000010037918XSmall-150x150Republican Rep. Doc Moore of Missoula said his House Bill 168 provides a legal limit for the amount of THC — an ingredient of marijuana — that can be in a person’s blood while operating a motor vehicle.

He argued that the measure is just aimed at ensuring streets are safe, not at the debate over medical marijuana.

“No one of us has the right to take a chemical, alcohol or anything and drive impaired,” he told the House Judiciary Committee. “We need to set some standards and level to protect the citizens of Montana.”

Standards are nice, but if they mean nothing, they are worthless. The amount of THC in someone’s blood in no way testifies to their level of “impairment.”

But those in power always feel they need to be perceived as “doing something.” There are problems, so they want to pass laws until the problem goes away. Even if the laws have no effect on the problem, at least they did something.

If there is one thing we don’t need in this country, it’s more useless laws.

– Joe Klare

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About The Author

Joe Klare has been writing about marijuana issues for the past 5 years online, in print and on air.

6 Responses

  1. hunkabarry1

    Marijuana does not impair driving ability.I have drove for over 37 yrs without any tickets or accidents. It is about as equivalent as tea or coffee.Show some type of actual evidence that X amount of marijuana impairs driving ability.Use at least ten people in a study or reality show.And try it yourself or something..

  2. badweatherrr

    even opiates aren’t illegal to drive on unless you are impaired and can’t pass a field sobriety test. It says clearly on the bottle don’t drive until you know how this medication affects you. And with all the opiate abuse in America, why don’t we have a limit on that? But we don’t.

    Clearly Joe has hit the nail on the head here, pols just wanna pass laws regardless of the effects, they just want the perception that they did something. Lame, this driving thing on weed is a witch hunt.

    Statistics show driving is safer in states that have legalized medical marijuana. These people are hoping alcohols bad reputation will rub off on marijuana and people will be terrified of the drugged drivers on the road… but the facts are the facts and I drive way more safely when I’m stoned than either a drunk, or a texter, cell phone user, or a completely sober idiot, any day of the week.

    Furthermore, all cops know this shit. It is common knowledge the stoner is the one driving 20 miles an hour in a thirty and the drunk is the one weaving and speeding thinking he’s some sort of god, while the stoner, simply knows he’s stoned and being super careful.

    The bottom line? Prohibitionists are pissed they’re losing this fight and they want to make sure that we all stay in our place marginalized as we have been for decades.

    The drug war is ending. Get a real life now drug warriors.

    Growing weed was always the right thing to do.

  3. spockknows

    To come up with a significant, or real blood content/time/impairment number requires a lot of testing with drivers that are impaired. With the existing federal laws, those tests can not be conducted because there is no legal marijuana to use to conduct the test AND, anyone doing the research would be violating federal laws. Just like it is unlawful for state officials to set up regulation laws. Isn’t that what the feds have been saying?

  4. Krymsun

    Cannabis use is associated with only marginal increases in traffic accident risk, comparable to anti-histamines and penicillin.

    An investigator from Aalborg University and the Institute of Transport Economics in Oslo assessed the risk of road accident associated with drivers’ use of licit and illicit drugs, including amphetamines, analgesics, anti-asthmatics, anti-depressives, anti-histamines, benzodiazepines, cannabis, cocaine, opiates, penicillin and zopiclone (a sleeping pill). His study reviewed data from 66 separate studies evaluating the use of illicit or prescribed drugs on accident risk; the study found that cannabis was associated with minor, but not significantly increased odds of traffic injury (1.06) or fatal accident (1.25). By comparison, opiates (1.44), benzodiazepine tranquillizers (2.30), anti-depressants (1.32), cocaine (2.96), amphetamines (4.46), and the sleeping aid zopiclone (2.60) were all associated with a greater risk of fatal accident than cannabis. Anti-histamines (1.12) and penicillin (1.12) were associated with comparable odds to cannabis.

  5. Krymsun

    A 2002 review of seven separate crash culpability studies involving 7,934 drivers reported, “Crash culpability studies [which attempt to correlate the responsibility of a driver for an accident to his or her consumption of a drug and the level of drug compound in his or her system] have failed to demonstrate that drivers with cannabinoids in the blood are significantly more likely than drug-free drivers to be culpable in road crashes.” [Chesher et al. Cannabis and alcohol in motor vehicle accidents. In: Grotenhermen and Russo (Eds) Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Therapeutic Potential. New York: Haworth Press. 2002: 313-323.]

    But, unlike with alcohol, the accident risk caused by cannabis, particularly among those who are not acutely intoxicated, appears limited because subjects under its influence are generally aware of their impairment and compensate to some extent, such as by slowing down and by focusing their attention when they know a response will be required. [Allison Smiley. Marijuana: On-Road and Driving Simulator Studies]

    This response is the opposite of that exhibited by drivers under the influence of alcohol, who tend to drive in a more risky manner proportional to their intoxication.[United Kingdom’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs. The Classification of Cannabis Under the Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971. 2002: See specifically: Chapter 4, Section 4.3.5: “Cannabis differs from alcohol; … it seems not to increase risk-taking behavior. This may explain why it appears to play a smaller role than alcohol in road traffic accidents.”]

  6. MeeMan

    Given that cannabis use usually makes the driver slow down and be more cautious, I would have thought it was time to make it mandatory to drive while having some THC in the system.
    Just imagine, everyone driving on or below the speed limit, relaxed, happy, smiling and giving other drivers a friendly nod rather than speeding, screaming and giving each other the finger.

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