Driving With Cannabis in Your Car

Would anyone risk being charged with felony or a misdemeanor at the very least just to drive with Cannabis? Can’t it just wait? For starters, weed has been legalized and/or decriminalized in various states across America. Each time you visit a dispensary to purchase Cannabis, somehow, you have to convey it home. What happens when the nearest or desired dispensary surpasses walking distance? Another case could be made with people who depend on marijuana for alleviation of the symptoms from incurable diseases. There may not be any exceptions for instituted rules for driving with Cannabis. Yet, staying ahead of each situation is paramount. Feature photo source: Pixabay

Like Alcohol and other ‘drug’ substances categorized as Controlled Substances in the 1970 Act, Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I substance. Controlled substances are considered to impair individuals under them. Driving impaired has always and is still considered illegal. Marijuana legalization and decriminalization hasn’t completely changed the status quo. There are bound to be rules driving with Cannabis which is no different from Alcohol in this case.

Legalization and Decriminalization

It’s pertinent to clearly differentiate these two terms often thrown around the use of Cannabis in recent times.

Legalization marks the usage of a stated product under provided rules as legal by law. This means that those who abide by the rules related to the product and its usage won’t be arrested, ticketed or convicted.

On the other hand, decriminalization takes effect when a state amends/appeals its laws that subject certain acts to prosecution.

Transportation of Marijuana

driving with cannabis
DFW NORML Cannabis Car Wash (Source: Flickr)

State Laws

The legality of driving with Cannabis within a particular state depends on the laws of the individual state. Once marijuana is illegal in a particular state, be rest assured its transportation will be illegal too. States that have legalized marijuana differ in their laws relating to the transportation of marijuana and on individual to business basis too. It doesn’t hurt to get acquainted with the weed laws in each state as regards transportation.

Here’s a summary of laws and penalties incurred as regards marijuana transportation in some states.

Federal Laws

When it comes to marijuana, there’s a conflict between state and federal laws. At the federal level, it doesn’t count that most states have legalized Cannabis. Possession and use of Cannabis is illegal under federal law. How does this affect businesses and individuals? Under the Supremacy Clause, the federal government could prosecute an individual engaged in marijuana business that is considered legal under state law. There was a turnaround in events when the Obama Administration announced it wouldn’t challenge state laws on marijuana in 2013. Fast forward to 2018, the Deputy Attorney General released a memo outlining enforcement priorities for marijuana.

Individuals are strongly advised against transporting marijuana across state lines. It could land you in serious trouble with the feds. There’s always more weed across the border if you’re traveling to a state where marijuana use is legal.

Impaired Driving Laws

It’s one thing to drive with Cannabis in your car. It’s a different story to have Cannabis in your system while driving. There is yet to be a clear consensus on whether impairment induced by Cannabis ingestion is consequential in car crashes. The studies are mixed; no study has been able to categorically dictate that THC in the blood causes a reasonable number of crashes. Also, there’s a question of reliability on tests correlating the amount of THC in the blood and level of impairment. Different tolerance levels mean that some people can have high THC in their blood without impairment. This is not enough reason to callously dab and drive. It has been ascertained that THC in the blood can impair certain abilities important to safe driving. These include: reaction time, divided attention and cognitive functions.

On the stand of legality, different states have approached the matter with different measures. Some states have a zero tolerance law for having marijuana in your system while driving. Others will allow it under certain limits (per se law). This list of marijuana related laws show which states have zero tolerance laws and otherwise.

Basic Guidelines for Transporting Marijuana

There are a few things you can do to stay on the good side of the law if marijuana use is legal in your state. See can police smell Cannabis in your car?

For heavy stoners, marijuana can linger in your system for weeks. You can always get a dash cam. It’s the best way to prove you weren’t impaired.

Edibles and Driving

weed edible
Making Marijuana Cookies (Source: Flickr)

Edibles come on strong and their high is sustained for a longer period of time compared to smoking. Edibles take anywhere between 30 minutes – 2 hours to kick in. You could have forgotten you had one before making your way to the car. Avoid them completely if you intend to drive and reserve them for your relaxation days.

From a Caring Citizen      

Always play it cool to avoid unwarranted searches. No over speeding, running a red light or driving recklessly. More importantly, abide by the laws of your state to stay perfectly safe. It’s such a wonderful time to be a stoner in America. Better than ever before. Edibles would make good company for binging the best movies and TV shows to watch on Netflix when high.

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