On election day, the number of states allowing access to recreational cannabis rose from 3 to 8. Yes, people can now legally possess and grow cannabis, however, states challenged with creating effective regulations to tackle the issue of marijuana impaired driving, much like cannabis cash management, has become a rising concern.
Unlike blood alcohol levels, which can reliably identify drunk drivers, there currently exists no standard for accurately discerning a driver's impairment from marijuana use. While blood tests and THC breathalyzers can measure the THC concentration in a driver's system, THC concentration alone does not precisely indicate impairment.
To grapple with this issue, some states have enforced regulations specifying that, irrespective of any other signs of impairment, it is illegal for an individual to drive when that individual's blood contains a certain level of THC. Such laws, however, have proven problematic, as marijuana affects everyone differently.
The American Automobile Association Foundation has found that blood tests cannot accurately detect impairment due to marijuana use, as the same blood THC concentration level impairs some drivers but not others. Consequently, relying on blood THC concentration levels alone may allow some marijuana impaired drivers to go free and result in wrongful convictions for others.
THC breathalyzers have also emerged as a potential method of detecting marijuana impairment in drivers. Companies such as Hound Labs, Cannabix and Chemring have each created THC breathalyzers, which allow police officers to capture the amount of THC in a driver's system as soon as an officer pulls the driver over.
These breathalyzers have proven extremely accurate, as they are capable of measuring THC levels within less than 500 picograms. Nonetheless, THC breathalyzers also do not provide an accurate means of detecting impairment from marijuana use in all drivers.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, one of the most outspoken supporters of Proposition 64, California's adult use of recreational cannabis initiative, has stated that California will use a portion of the excise tax mandated by Prop. 64 to develop testing and prosecution standards to address marijuana impaired driving.
However, such statements are not welcomed by all, as Prop. 64 opponents believe that testing and prosecution standards for marijuana impaired driving must be in place before voters can contemplate legalizing the adult use of recreational cannabis.
While companies like PayQwick have created and implemented viable solutions to the cannabis cash conundrum, there still exists no means of easily recognizing marijuana impaired drivers. For now, cannabis users must monitor themselves and ensure their own safety and the safety of others by staying off the roads while under the influence of marijuana.
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