How Does Illinois Test Drivers for Marijuana Use?

Imagine that you are over at a friend's house, and you decide to partake in some marijuana after dinner. You feel fine an hour later and do not think you will have any problem driving. After getting into your car and beginning to drive home, you see the telltale flashing lights behind you. You are worried about facing a driving under the influence of drugs charge, but you are sure you did not smoke enough marijuana to be impaired. What happens now? How does the police officer who pulls you over prove that you are too impaired to be legally driving?

Illinois Recently Legalized Recreational Marijuana

Recently, Illinois legalized the recreational use of marijuana. The Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, which goes into effect in January 2020, authorizes the use of cannabis and possession of 30 grams or less of cannabis for anyone 21 years old or older. Illinois now joins other states that have legalized marijuana. Some are rejoicing that Illinois decriminalized marijuana. Others warn about the lack of an adequate test for driving while under the influence of drugs (DUIDrugs).

What Constitutes Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana in Illinois?

Tetrahydrocannabinol is the active marijuana ingredient. The new Illinois law states that a person is driving under the influence of marijuana if a test shows that someone has five or more nanograms of THC concentration in his or her blood draw or has 10 or more THC nanograms in other bodily fluids.

The process of measuring THC is not without its challenges. For a start, marijuana can migrate from someone's blood within 30 minutes and moves to a person's fatty tissues where the body stores it. Further, some studies have shown that the amount of THC is not closely related to how stoned someone feels. Another challenging aspect is that in some cases, a person is most impaired up to 90 minutes after consuming or smoking marijuana.

While police officers can use mouth swabs that detect whether someone has used marijuana, these swaps do not show the blood level of marijuana. If someone refuses to do the swab, the police would then need to obtain a search warrant, which is time-consuming.

DuPage County Sheriff James Medrick urged Illinois police departments to train experts in drug enforcement who have the skill and training to handle marijuana cases. Will technology catch up to the cannabis legalization laws that have been quickly happening across the country? Only time will tell.

If You Have Been Arrested for Driving While Under the Influence of Marijuana, We can Help

A DUI in Illinois is no small matter. If you are convicted, you could lose your job and experience strained relationships with those you love. The skilled Cook County DUI defense attorneys at Glasgow and Olsson have a wealth of experience fighting DUI charges. To contact us, please fill out our online form for an initial consultation.

(image courtesy of Get Budding)

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