Legalization of marijuana is a growing reality in the United States of America. While legalization does have many positive points, there are risks coming to the height of conversation regarding an unavoidable fact. More people smoking marijuana recreationally without punitive punishment means more people driving under the influence of marijuana. There’s little arguing the point. Though marijuana has claimed many health benefits, the plant is still psychoactive and a mind-altering substance. Meaning that when marijuana is ingested, people are becoming intoxicated. As marijuana growth becomes more refined and the strands of marijuana become increasingly stronger, there is an even greater chance that novice marijuana users will be more intoxicated than they are prepared to handle, which puts a lot of risk to people on the road.
For a few years, law enforcement agencies have contemplated ways to test intoxicated drivers for marijuana consumption. Men can be pulled over for intoxication and take a breathalyzer which detects their blood alcohol content level, BAC. If a man is high on marijuana to the point where his driving abilities are impaired, there currently is no way for police to chemically test their allegations. Now, however, marijuana breathalyzers are on the horizon and will greatly change the way marijuana users think about getting high and driving.
Marijuana breathalyzers work in the same way a breathalyzer works by having users blow into a small device. Amazingly, the device can detect if marijuana has been smoked, vaped, or consumed in another way, like through an edible, within the last two hours. Unlike a breathalyzer for alcohol which can immediately reveal how much alcohol is in a man’s bloodstream, the marijuana breathalyzer only reveals whether or not THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, is present in the bloodstream. While this is helpful, it points out another fault which law enforcement agencies will need to confront. Currently, there is no standardized legal limit for THC levels in the bloodstream.
There are a lot of issues surrounding marijuana which aren’t standardized. Driving under the influence of marijuana is dangerous because intoxication of marijuana impairs the brain much in the same way alcohol does. Marijuana abuse is real and to that effect, there has been some standardizing- the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders categorizes marijuana use disorder under substance use disorders, the clinical way of ranking an “addiction”. Potentially, testing, as well as arresting, men for marijuana intoxication on the road could lead more men to confront their dependencies on marijuana and inspire them to seek help through rehabilitative treatment.
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