In a previous post, we touched briefly on catching a DWI case for smoking weed. Marijuana is quickly becoming decriminalized or legal in many states with rest to likely follow suit in the very near future. However, just like alcohol, just because it’s legal doesn’t change the ILLEGALITY of driving under the influence of cannabis.

The problem law enforcement has had up to this point is how to determine how much, if any, marijuana is in an individual’s system. That’s about to change. A group of researchers from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh and the Swanson School of Engineering have developed a breathalyzer device that measures the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in marijuana, in a user’s breath.

The new device will look very similar to the breathalyzer used by officers in the field today. However, the prototype is able to detect THC in a breath sample which also contained components such as carbon dioxide, water, ethanol, methanol, and acetone. Point being, you are not going to be able to mask over the THC.

The device is coming, no doubt about it. The question initially will be “how much is too much?” There is currently no accepted standard or quantifiable number for cannabis THC impairment. The answer to that might take some time for the medical folks to agree on an amount. However, it’s reasonable to think that courts will go with “not in control of one’s mental and/or physical faculties”.

Be smart, some of the signs officers look for are:

  • The odor of weed in your car
  • Slurred speech
  • Glassy eyes
  • Slow motor skills
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Driving too slow
  • Erratic driving or weaving

Remember, just because it’s legal DOESN’T mean you can drive under the influence.

If you find yourself in the back of a police car arrested for driving under the influence of weed, chill out, don’t say anything and contact an experienced DUI defense attorney right away.