Colorado voters overwhelming approved a big change to hawaii’s constitution that allowed the sale and private consumption of marijuana for recreational use. Sales began in 2014. Since then, a state has issued greater than 2,900 marijuana business licenses, 481 which often went to retail dispensaries. As a result, together media outlet stated, Colorado has more pot dispensaries than Starbucks, McDonald’s, and 7-Eleven locations combined.
But though it’s legal to eat, it remains illegal to operate a vehicle while intoxicated by marijuana. Tragically, several drivers seem like ignoring that will are putting lives in peril by smoking and driving. If you’ve been injured in the vehicle accident due to an impaired driver, a personal injury attorney may help.
Fatal Accidents around the Rise
According to analysis by The Denver Post, how many drivers associated with fatal automobile accidents who then tested positive for marijuana has jumped yearly since legalization. Higher amount drug may also be appearing in drivers who tested positive. Last year, within a extreme example, one driver tested at 22 times the legal limit for marijuana.
From 2013-16, Colorado experienced a forty percent spike in the quantity of traffic fatalities overall, hitting 880 this past year, based on numbers in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The data also reveals that alcohol-related fatalities have been around the rise, climbing 17 percent. The variety of drivers who tested positive for marijuana, however, jumped nearly 150 percent, and today make up ten % of all fatal automobile accidents.
While officials are quick to say that this dramatic surge in marijuana-related traffic deaths are not tied conclusively to legalization, the numbers are disturbing.
“Unlike alcohol, THC [the ingredient in marijuana] usually stays detectable within the blood stream for several days or weeks, when any impairment wears off in just hours,” Taylor West, former deputy director from the National Cannabis Industry Association, told The Denver Post. “So hundreds of numbers really reveal is that, since legal adult-use sales began, a larger volume of people are consuming cannabis then, sooner or later… the worry.”
Testing is often a Problem
That’s the condition facing state and local governments. Cannabis use is skyrocketing, but authorities are still struggling to find ways to definitively test drivers. There’s no marijuana breathalyzer or blood test that police may use to test drivers. There are tests that check out delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, but there’s no universally accepted standard that indicates who’s actually impaired, rapidly frantic efforts of scientists to find out one.
Colorado relies on a THC blood test that police are able to use to reveal what’s generally known as “presumed” impairment. Permissible inference is placed at five nanograms of THC per milliliter. Alcohol stops working quickly inside the body, so that it is easy to check for. THC, about the other hand, can linger much longer inside body. In fact, heavy users who then avoid marijuana can certainly still test positive 30 days or more later.
At least two private companies are researching breath detection devices, but scientists estimate they’re years away from punching the market. As a result, Colorado initiated a policy of training its officers with what to look for during traffic stops when deciding whether a motorist is impaired.