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Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of Marijuana in Washington

Hughes Robbins, P.S. Feb. 20, 2012

In the November 2012 election, Washington State voters passed Initiative 502 to legalize marijuana for personal use. The enactment of I-502 mandates law enforcement and prosecutors to presume that marijuana is in fact legal, and that those whole possess it in personal use quantities are engaged in legal activity.

Despite this change in law, driving while under the influence of marijuana, just as driving under the influence of alcohol, is a serious criminal offense in Washington. It is important for all marijuana users to know and understand the laws regarding driving under the influence of marijuana.

The new law makes it legal for adults to possess up to 1 ounce of marijuana, but illegal for that same adult to drive if the THC Content of his or her blood reaches 5 nanograms per milliliter. This limit is very low. In most recreational users, active THC will drop below that threshold within two to three hours of using marijuana. But among the heaviest users, active THC levels may never drop below five nanograms, even when they’re not impaired. For some medical marijuana patients in particular, this technically means they have the potential for an automatic DUID conviction every time they get behind the wheel.

Watch Richard Thompson’s Kiro-TV video originally aired on February 11, 2013 below to understand the effects of smoking marijuana on one’s ability to operate a vehicle. If you have any questions or need legal representation, contact Scott Robbins.