Prop 64 Lacks Legal Limits for Drugged Driving, More DUIs Expected
CALIFORNIA –Under Proposition 64, the recreational use of marijuana would be legalized, but the proposed law does not specify what levels of THC in a person’s blood make a person too high to drive, according to critics of the proposition on the November’s ballot.
Prosecutors and law enforcement groups argue that without specific language in the law addressing how much THC is present in a driver’s system before they are considered too high to drive, it will be impossible to convict dangerous drugged drivers. THC is the chemical in pot that is responsible for the high feeling people get when they smoke or consume cannabis.
Now that voters have approved the passage of Prop 64, police expect the number of drugged drivers present on our roadways will dramatically increase. This would lead to more crashes and increase the numbers of injuries and fatalities in the state. Additionally, they argue that growing techniques have increased the potency of the drug in recent years, leading to more severely impaired drivers than in the past.
“This measure will likely lead to more impaired, drugged drivers on our roadways,” said Attorney James Johnson. “It puts everyone at risk of injury or death including our children.”
To make matters worse, it is more difficult to prove drugged driving cases and obtain convictions than with alcohol-related DUI’s. There is no comparable scientific evidence for cannabis as there exists for alcohol, but juries expect this and are reluctant to convict drivers accused of drugged driving.
The California Association of Highway Patrolmen, the California District Attorneys Association, the California Narcotic Officers Association and other criminal justice groups opposed Proposition 64 as they see the potential dangers of allowing drivers who are under the influence of pot coupled with their inability to prosecute cases involving DUI.
They say if the law is passed there should be specified limits set in place as there exists in states such as Colorado, Washington and Pennsylvania. In those states, there is a limit of 5 nano grams of THC per milliliter of blood. California law enforcement agencies insist there should be a “per se” drugged driving law that provides a standard whereby the presence of marijuana above an established level is deemed evidence that they are impaired. It will be needed for police to convict impaired driving as well as deter it.
What Does Proposition 64 Permit?
Proposition 64 allows people in California to possess, use and transport as much as one ounce of pot for recreational use as well as grow no more than six plants. Additionally, the measure imposes a 15 percent tax on retail sales.
Supporters of the proposition say sales tax is estimated at $1 billion per year with roughly $15 million earmarked for the California Highway Patrol over the first five years. The CHP would use the funds to trail police on how to detect drug impaired drivers and set protocols and standards. About $125 million would be set aside for grants for technology and additional police training.
Help for Victims of Drugged Drivers
If you were injured or have lost a loved one due to a collision with a negligent drugged driver, it’s important that immediate steps are taken to protect your legal rights. The impact of financial loss at a time when you are injured or grieving is unfair and there are remedies under California law to recoup compensation. Call Johnson Attorneys Group at 800-235-6801 to speak with an attorney about your potential claim in a free consultation.