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The Dangers of Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

Marijuana use is growing throughout the United States. At a time its use was very hush hush,
today more people are proudly admitting that they smoke or ingest Marijuana in one way or
another. They fight to create laws legalizing Marijuana within their state and happily support
those states who have passed such laws. However just as with Alcohol the use of Marijuana
can be dangerous. Its users are faced with health risks as a result of long term use, as well as
legal repercussions for its illicit use and their actions when under the influence of this drug such
as making the foolish choice to drive.

The Wrong Choice

Just as when taking a drink of alcohol you need to be aware that it is no longer safe to drive.
Many claim Marijuana does not affect their senses enough to deter them from driving, this is
false. Marijuana delays nearly every response within the body and creates a euphoric high that
distracts the driver, putting themselves at risk as well as all others on the roads at that time. Law
enforcement throughout the Nation has a zero tolerance for anyone driving under the influence
of Marijuana and will arrest the guilty individual, following through with legal prosecution to the
full extent of the law.

Before you make the choice to drive while under the influence of Marijuana think is it worth the
legal repercussions, the loss of your license or most importantly is it worth risking your life and
the lives of others? Driving under the influence of Marijuana is clearly the wrong choice.

The Legal Repercussions to Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

You made the foolish choice, flashing lights behind you, the sound of a siren ordering you to
pull over. There is a knot in your gut, you know there is no get out of jail free card when it comes
to driving under the influence of Marijuana. Being pulled over the police officer was concerned
by your driving; you may have been swerving, driving too fast or slow, regardless to what was
going on the officer found it to be suspicious driving.
When coming to the window the officer may smell the distinct odor of Marijuana. He may even
see paraphernalia and Marijuana within your vehicle. Your eyes may be red and dilated, your
speech may be slurred, response time delayed and other red flags that you are under the
influence of Marijuana are clear to the police officer. At this point the officer will ask you to exit
the vehicle and go to the side of the road for a field sobriety test. Failure of this test amongst
other things will land you in jail where there is a possibility of other drug testing to determine if
you are under the influence of any other substances.
When you are found guilty of driving under the influence of Marijuana you will be prosecuted
accordingly. This could mean loss of your license, jail time, court ordered drug treatment,
probation…the list goes on.

DUI

In all 50 states it is illegal to drive under the influence of Marijuana, just as it is to operate a
motor vehicle under the influence of any substance that could impair the driver. When using the
substance Marijuana, lawfully or illegally, it will cause physical or mental impairment that makes
a person unable to drive safely.

For a first time DUI offense you will be looking at a misdemeanor that is punishable with time
in a county jail, a fine averaging $1000, mandatory substance abuse treatment, suspended
or restricted license, and an average of 3 year probation. If the individual driving under the
influence of Marijuana results in bodily injury or death, regardless to if the first time offense, the
individual can be prosecuted as a felony punishable by imprisonment in state prison.
If found to be in possession of Marijuana, legally or illegally, while driving under the influence
having this substance within the vehicle increases the legal repercussions.

Making the Choice Not To Drive Under the Influence of Marijuana

Heavy marijuana use delays the users response time, ability to retain memory as normal and to
shift their attention to one thing to another. The THC within marijuana causes extreme effects on
the brain and body making it dangerous when driving under the influence. Approximately 6 to 11
percent of fatal accident victims test positive for THC according to National studies. While each
state has its own laws declaring Marijuana use legal or illicit they all have similar laws stating
that driving under the influence of Marijuana is illegal and will not be tolerated. Next time you are
under the influence of Marijuana make the choice not to drive, keeping yourself and others safe
as well as avoiding any possible legal repercussions that could drastically affect your current
way of life. There is always another option that will keep you off other roads while under the
influence of Marijuana, keeping you and all others safe.

Resources and Organizations

National Institute on Drug Abuse
AAIM Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists
MADD
American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators
Friends Drive Sober
Governors Highway Safety Association
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
National Drug Court Institute
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Students Against Destructive Decision

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The Dangers of Driving Under the Influence of Marijuana

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