On November 8th, California voters passed Proposition 64, meaning adults aged 21 or over will have the right to purchase, consume and even cultivate small amounts of marijuana for recreational purposes. For those who have been advocating for legalization of the substance, this is a monumental victory.
However, one of the big arguments against the proposition was that the law did not have a provision which created a legal limit for THC concentration in the blood. Without this provision, police would have an extremely difficult time arresting and charging individuals who may be operating a vehicle while inebriated by these drugs. For this reason, police chiefs all across the state expressed their staunch opposition to the proposal in hopes that it would not pass.
Laws Currently In Place
The provision did create a few laws to help prevent the drug from getting into the hands of individuals who are not eligible to have possession of it. Those under the age of 18 in possession of marijuana will be required to attend a drug counseling program as well as perform community service. Previous laws regarding possession and consumption still apply to those between the ages of 18 and 21, and consumption is still forbidden in public places unless it is at an establishment which has been licensed for marijuana consumption on the premises.
Additionally, the proposition did establish some standards for packaging, labeling, and advertising restrictions, including the direct marketing to minors, as well as forbid public cultivation.
Future Impact on DUI
Proposition 64 did not change the already-existing law that made it illegal to consume marijuana while driving. However, as stated previously, it did not create a legal limit on what would and would not be considered a DUI using blood-THC instead of blood-alcohol. This is particularly concerning for law enforcement as the possession and consumption this small amount of marijuana became legal immediately upon the passing of the proposition.
However, the full sale to non-medical-carded parties does not begin until January 1, 2018.
It is highly likely that sometime before this date, the laws regarding THC-fueled DUIs will change. In addition to setting a limit for how much THC can be in your blood while behind the wheel, the laws will also change to allow police to test for THC in order to be able to make arrests and protect the public. This will likely come due to a study by the Automobile Association of America which indicated, albeit somewhat inconclusively, that legalized recreational consumption did lead to an increase in DUI-related car accidents.
If you have been arrested and charged with DUI in the Los Angeles area, Hutton & Wilson may be able to help you. Our Pasadena DUI attorneys have aided in over 10,000 cases, and have earned a long and substantial record of success. Whether you need help with your first DUI charge, or a subsequent repeat offense, trust your case to our attorneys who place your needs first when fighting back against your charges.Call Hutton & Wilson today at 626.587.2220 for a free initial consultation!