In Oregon, drivers who get behind the wheel while under the influence of cannabis can be every bit as dangerous as drunk motorists. However, police do not always have a way to conclusively prove that a driver is high, unlike alcohol where the officer can administer a breathalyzer test to the motorist on the spot.
With this in mind, work is being done on developing a new type of test that can allow officers to figure out at the scene that a driver is under the influence of cannabis. This test would analyze the content of the driver’s saliva and produce an instant result. Currently, officers can give a blood test at the scene. However, the results would not be instant and not all police officers have the capability to give this test. As a result, many drivers can escape punishment for consuming cannabis before they drive.
Cannabis has the effect of slowing a driver’s reaction time behind the wheel. They are less able to focus on the road. However, the effects of cannabis consumption are not as readily spotted as alcohol, limiting the officer’s ability to act during a traffic stop. Since more states have begun to legalize marijuana, impaired driving continues to become an even bigger problem.
Those who have been arrested for driving while influenced cannabis can face stiff legal penalties, including fines and jail time. An alleged offender may need the services of a criminal justice lawyer if they have been charged with a crime. The attorney might seek to negotiate a lighter penalty on the client’s behalf, especially if it was a first-time offense. Regardless, driving under the influence of marijuana can be every bit as serious of a criminal offense as drunk driving.