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Legalizing pot leads to road safety concerns

Seattle residents may be aware that more states are starting to loosen their marijuana possession laws. However, this can cause problems for both those who are recreational users and for the state government. One major concern is how legalizing recreational use will affect road safety, especially after a study found that the number of fatal crashes involving drivers who used marijuana doubled after the state of Washington legalized the drug.

When it comes to alcohol, there are clear laws that determine when a driver is no longer safe to drive. However, those who use recreational marijuana may have the metabolites in their body for days if not weeks. States that have minimum THC levels often just appear to set them without any science to back them up. This could result in people being wrongly charged even when they were driving safely, especially because a certain level of the drug in the system does not correspond to whether or not the person is impaired.

To combat this, many companies are working to create an equivalent to a Breathalyzer. It is hoped that new technology will test to see if a driver has recently used marijuana versus whether or not THC is present in their body. One company is creating a device that will measure the amount of THC in the person's breath.

The charge of driving under the influence can of course apply to drugs just as much as it can to alcohol, and the penalties if a conviction is obtained can be just as severe. However, a criminal defense attorney representing a client who has been handed a DUI charge for marijuana may have more flexibility in arguing that there was a lack of reliable and scientific evidence proving that the defendant was actually impaired at the time of the traffic stop.

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