Hawaii lawmakers are asking and addressing some pretty valid questions in preparation for the opening of medical marijuana dispensaries. The first question on their list: How much marijuana can a driver safely consume before driving a motor vehicle?
ABC News reported that Rep. Cindy Evans, as well as 15 other lawmakers have proposed a solution by asking the state Department of Health to study if a person can drive safely while under the influence.
“I think that it’s really important that we do this now,” Evans said. “Hopefully this is the beginning of the discussion.”
Hawaii law currently prohibits people from driving under the influence of any drug that impairs one’s ability to drive, and there isn’t a defined boundary for how much marijuana (medically prescribed or not) is acceptable in the blood stream.
Many states have approved laws determining how much marijuana in the blood stream is acceptable while driving, but set different limits for how much THC in the blood would be considered driving under the influence of drugs. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Colorado, Montana and Washington established the limit at 5 nanograms per millileter of blood, while Nevada and Ohio went with the lower 2 nanograms. Other states offer an exception for medical marijuana patients.
The state Department of Health disagrees with the the solution, making it clear that the department doesn’t have the ability to study the intricate question, mostly because the solution didn’t include funding. The department’s director, Virginia Pressler, said in written statement that The National Institute on Drug Abuse has been analyzing this issue for quite some time and hasn’t been able to determine a preferred level for driving.
Even with the opposition, the House Committee on Transportation passed the solution Monday, sending it to the Committee on Health to keep the discussion going, Committee Chairman Rep. Henry Aquino said.
“It’s here, so we just wanted to make sure that we have some sort of scientific, some sort of data-driven study to being done to address this,” Aquino said.
(Photo Courtesy of www.ahightime.com)