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  • Writer's pictureAshley Slimak

Have You Had Too Much Marijuana to Drive? Understanding the Legal Limit of Cannabis

Driving Under The Influence of Marijuana
Arkansas medical marijuana patients should be cautious and take safety measures when getting behind the wheel.

Most of us are familiar with the legal limit so far as it relates to blood alcohol and driving. If you’re pulled over by police while driving and you’re found to exceed the limit, there are consequences.

Now that medical marijuana is both legal and available to Arkansas residents who possess an Arkansas medical marijuana ID card, law enforcement is left with a tricky question: what should the legal limit of marijuana be?

Why a Legal Limit Is Important?

The question of how much is too much is one that experts must be careful when assessing. Too low of a limit and patients will get in trouble for acting responsibly with their medication, but too high of a limit could put other drivers and pedestrians at risk.

When patients understand that they must be careful when using marijuana, or any other medication for that matter, they are more likely to act in a way that keeps themselves and those around them safe.

Determining the Appropriate Limit

There is one primary problem with determining whether someone has had “too much” marijuana: there is no simple test that can tell law enforcement how much cannabis someone has consumed.

This is in stark contrast to alcohol. Breathalyzer tests are a simple way for officers to determine your blood alcohol level at the time of being pulled over. This test is fast, inexpensive, noninvasive, and provides immediate results.

When it comes to cannabis, the real question is if you have had enough THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) to render you intoxicated. THC is the compound in marijuana that is primarily responsible for the “high” that someone feels after they’ve used a cannabis product.

So, how does one test for THC?

Breathalyzer tests won’t work. Urine tests can only reveal whether or not someone has used marijuana over the past few days, not how intoxicated they were at the time of arrest. As for blood tests, they are much more accurate, but because they’re invasive, police officers cannot require someone to have their blood drawn without a warrant.

Another problem with urine and blood tests is that it can take months for the results to be processed due to a lack of personnel at state drug labs. This means that someone could willingly have a blood test, but still go through the whole arrest process, spending a night in jail, and wait months before there is proof that they were not under the influence of marijuana.

The solution? A 12-step DRE (Drug Recognition Expert) evaluation.

How DRE Evaluations Are Used to Measure Intoxication

Law enforcement has long faced the challenge of determining whether or not people are using a variety of drugs. It is only alcohol that is straightforward; other drugs require an alternative strategy.

DRE Evaluation for Marijuana consumption while driving
Field sobriety tests are used during DRE Evaluations to test time-assessment and coordination skills.

When it comes to marijuana, police must use a strategy that is unfortunately a bit less scientific than toxicology screenings. If you are pulled over and a police officer suspects that you may be on marijuana or other drugs, they will conduct a roadside sobriety test. Once they bring you in, a Drug Recognition Expert will be brought in for consultation.

Drug Recognition Experts undergo intensive training to help them determine if someone is under the influence of drugs and what type of drug they are under the influence of.

The Drug Recognition Expert will then conduct the 12-step DRE evaluation that can be used as evidence of whether or not someone is under the influence.

Are DRE Evaluations Accurate?

How accurate are DRE evaluations? There is no way to measure their accuracy, which has left many people skeptical. The problem is that this process puts a lot of responsibility in the hands of law enforcement. Because the evaluation is subjective, there have been cases around the United States where people have successfully filed suit after being wrongfully accused of using drugs.

Yet, this is the best tool that law enforcement has at this time. The goal of these evaluations is to keep people safe, in spite of their not being 100% foolproof.

How Can You Be Sure You’re Under the Legal Limit for Marijuana?

The real test is how you feel. If you have any question as to whether or not you’re completely sober, a DRE evaluation might find that you are under the influence of marijuana. As the saying goes, better safe than sorry. When you use medical cannabis, it is your responsibility to ensure that you do not drive a vehicle when you feel inebriated. It is better to wait it out or find an alternative way to get somewhere if you have recently used cannabis.


Arkansas Medical Marijuana Card Logo
Arkansas Medical Marijuana Card

If you are an Arkansan suffering from one of these 18 medical conditions you may be eligible to treat your ailment with medical marijuana, which includes both THC and CBD products.

Click here to learn more about what Arkansas Marijuana Card's state-certified medical marijuana doctors can do for you, or give us a call at (844-249-8714) and our friendly support team can walk you through the entire process, and set you up with an appointment.

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