Have You Had Contact With Police As A.Medical Assessment Question Legalized Pot Causes Problems for Police in Colorado

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Legalized Pot Causes Problems for Police in Colorado

In 2012, Colorado voters approved an amendment to the state constitution allowing the sale and personal consumption of marijuana for recreational use. Sales began in 2014. Since then, the state has issued more than 2,900 marijuana business licenses, 481 of which went to retail dispensaries. As a result, as one media outlet pointed out, Colorado has more pot dispensaries than Starbucks, McDonald’s, and 7-Eleven locations.

But even though consumption is legal, it remains illegal to drive while under the influence of marijuana. Unfortunately, too many drivers seem to ignore that and put lives at risk by smoking and driving. If you have been injured in a car accident caused by an impaired driver, a personal injury attorney can help.

Fatal Accidents are Increasing

According to an analysis by The Denver Post, the number of drivers involved in fatal car accidents who later test positive for marijuana has increased every year since legalization. Higher drug levels also indicate drivers who test positive. Last year, in one extreme example, a driver tested 22 times the legal limit for marijuana.

From 2013-16, Colorado experienced a 40 percent increase in the number of traffic fatalities overall, which hit 880 last year, according to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The data also revealed that alcohol-related deaths were on the rise, rising by 17 percent. The number of drivers who tested positive for marijuana, however, jumped nearly 150 percent, and now make up 10 percent of all fatal car accidents.

While officials are quick to point out that this dramatic increase in marijuana-related traffic deaths cannot be tied entirely to legalization, the numbers are troubling.

“Unlike alcohol, THC [the active ingredient in marijuana] can remain detectable in the bloodstream for days or weeks, if any damage disappears in a few hours, “Taylor West, former deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, told The Denver Post. ” So all the numbers tell us. that is, since the legal sale to adults began, many people consume cannabis and then, at some point … drive a car.

Testing is a Problem

That’s the problem facing state and local governments. Cannabis use is skyrocketing, but law enforcement officials are still struggling to find a way to fully test drivers. There is no marijuana breathalyzer or blood test that the police can use to test drivers. There are tests that examine delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, but there is no universally accepted standard that shows who is truly impaired, despite the efforts of scientists to establish it.

Colorado uses a THC blood test that police can use to reveal what it calls “presumed” impairment. The permissible inference is set at five nanograms of THC per milliliter. Alcohol is easily broken down in the body, which is easy to detect. THC, on the other hand, can last longer in the body. In fact, heavy users who abstain from marijuana can still test positive a month or more later.

At least two private companies are researching breath-detection devices, but scientists estimate they are still months or years away from hitting the market. As a result, Colorado began training its officers on what to look for during traffic stops when deciding whether a driver is impaired.

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