At least six states have now set per se limits for the amount of THC a driver may have in his blood before he is presumed to be under the influence. Problem is, these levels (which range from 1ng/mL up to 5 ng/mL) are being set arbitrarily and without much basis in science, if any. Scientists, toxicologists, and other experts in the field are rarely consulted when states debate passing such laws, so numbers are literally being pulled out of thin air.
Wasn’t punishing and deterring impaired driving the whole point of DUI laws in the first place?
Take alcohol for instance: Why, over the last few decades, have we moved away from actually requiring the government to prove a driver was impaired in favor of per se and “zero tolerance” laws? The trend started a couple of decades ago by lowering per se BAC limits from 0.10 to 0.08. Idaho recently set a 0.05 limit — the lowest in the country. Perhaps our physiology has changed so rapidly over the last few decades that state legislatures are struggling to keep up with the evolution of the human liver. Or, just maybe, we are seeing knee-jerk politics steer policy rather than science.
This is dangerous and will lead to wrongful convictions.
Perhaps you do not live in a state considering this issue … not yet anyway. But who knows what tomorrow will bring? With state’s passing medical and recreational marijuana laws left and right, and DUI legislation being all the rage across the country over the last several years, one can only guess where the next bill attempting to address marijuana-related issues with a stone age mentality will crop up.
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