When It Comes To Marijuana, How High Is Too High To Drive?
SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Three drivers, all high on marijuana: Addy is a daily pot user, Dylan uses pot on weekends and Jeff uses it once in a while.
They were all put to the test through a basic driving course in Washington state with a drug recognition expert standing by.
The driving instructor said Addy and Dylan drove slower than normal, but all drove okay on their first lap around, despite Addy hitting a cone.
"I wouldn't pull her off the road," says the instructor.
Then the volunteers smoked again. They were all definitely high.
"I'm starting to get it oh yeah,I can feel it in my eyes, I can feel it in my body and my head," says Addy.
"I don't know if I can get much more stoned even if I keep smoking it," says Jeff.
This time it really started to show.
Dylan nearly hit the photographer. He was at five times Washington's legal limit.
But here in California there is no legal limit. Pot users like Shante Carter and Kanisha Alhark know that.
"I drive better when I'm high," says Carter. She says she's more focused. She's never been in an accident before either.
"Knock on wood, but I haven't," she says.
"I've been smoking since I was 15-years-old says Alhark. She says she will continue to drive while high because she'll never get arrested.
Sam Geller is a defense attorney in San Francisco. He says he's won all his clients' marijuana DUI cases.
"Anything regarding marijuana came back not guilty," says Geller. "I think it's safe to say that there are people who are impaired but it's also safe to say that you know there are people who are actually aren't impaired. The only reason why they're there or have been charged is that their blood tested positive for marijuana."
A recent AAA study says it's impossible to set marijuana DUI limits because there's no scientific proof everyone becomes impaired at the same THC blood limit.
"You can tell how much active THC is in their system and their blood stream but you can't tell how they're actually impaired," says Geller.
Right now it's up to officers to arrest you for driving high based on a field sobriety test, but some say driving under the influence of any drug is wrong.
"We know people are dying every single day," says Natasha Thomas of MADD.
In fact, Mothers Against Drunk Driving here in the Bay Area says they hope future laws will keep stoned drivers off the road.
"We don't take a stance on legalization of marijuana but what we do say it does become our issue once you get behind the wheel whether it be drugs or drunk driving," says Thomas.
When Carter and Alhark watched the driving video we asked them how high is too high.
"Not all people can handle their highs," said Carter.
But they both said they'll keep driving high knowing they'll likely just get a slap on the wrist.
"As long as I don't have any marijuana or if I have my [medical marijuana] card or something like that then I'm fine," says Alhark. "They can't bother me."
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