The laws regarding marijuana are changing throughout the country. Recreational legalization has already taken place in states like Massachusetts, Colorado, California, and more, with medical legalization taking place in an even higher number of states. But the constantly evolving legality of marijuana has also led to some confusion regarding current laws.
There are now a number of misconceptions regarding the legality of marijuana. For CMV operators, the changing legality of marijuana has led to some confusion in regard to the rules of the road. This blog will clarify 4 misconceptions CMV drivers may have surrounding the legalization of marijuana.
Driving while under the influence of marijuana is illegal, even if you bought and ingested the product legally. MassDefense.com outlines the law in Massachusetts effectively, writing, “operating a motor vehicle while being under the influence of any intoxicating liquor or drug, including marijuana, is against the law. While the limit for alcohol is stated as a blood alcohol content level of .08 percent, there is no specified limit for marijuana. Instead, operating a motor vehicle with any level of impairment is against the law.”
This means that if you get pulled over while heavily intoxicated on marijuana, you will face the same consequences as someone pulled over for being over the legal limit of their blood alcohol content. These penalties may include a large fine, a jail sentence, and a license suspension.
There’s some conflicting evidence surrounding the impact marijuana has on cognitive functioning. But the scientifically accepted theory is that marijuana absolutely does impact a drivers ability to function and handle a vehicle properly. According to DrugAbuse.gov, “Marijuana significantly impairs judgment, motor coordination, and reaction time, and studies have found a direct relationship between blood THC concentration and impaired driving ability.”
While there are studies that present opposing viewpoints, the science is relatively clear. Either way, CMV drivers make their living driving a truck. Is it really worth the risk?
There are a number of different factors that can influence how long THC stays in a person's system. These factors include percentage of body fat, how much marijuana someone has smoked, and how often someone smokes. MedicalNewsToday.com reports that, “Drug tests can detect tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, in urine, blood, and hair for many days after use, while saliva tests can only detect THC for a few hours. This is because of the way the body metabolizes THC.”
For CMV drivers, all of whom have to pass drug tests frequently, marijuana can still lead to you losing your CMV Operating License, and in some cases, your livelihood.
It’s understandable that someone might be confused with the laws surrounding marijuana being that they change from state to state. Unfortunately, CMV drivers don’t have the luxury of being uncertain.
Read more about the laws and rules surrounding marijuana for CMV drivers here.