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Marijuana use and DUIs: Not an easy charge to prove

While Washington does now allow for recreational marijuana usage, there are limits to even that. Did you know that you can still face a DUI if you smoke marijuana before you drive a vehicle? Yes, you can, and it's an interesting problem for police, since it's nearly impossible to prove impairment is a result of recent use.

When you smoke marijuana, the chemicals from it move into your blood stream. As a result, your blood test results will come up with information including the THC levels from when you last smoked. THC can stay in a person's system up to seven days, although it's typically less if someone isn't a frequent user.

How do you know if you can drive after you've smoked?

There is no legal limit for THC set by the state, because THC affects each individual differently. For instance, if you smoke a joint and another person smokes two, you could find that you are high and impaired while the other person is not. Since that's how THC works, the police can't rely on a certain level of THC to show intoxication. Instead, they need to rely on your actions and behaviors along with proof that you have THC in your system.

Like many drugs, marijuana can affect your ability to drive. The "high" typically wears off quickly. It's been shown that peak levels of THC are recorded at around 10 minutes before they begin to decline. To be safe, give yourself a few hours to sober up before you get behind the wheel.

Why does THC affect people differently?

THC affects people differently because people have different metabolisms and body masses. Edibles last longer in the system than smoked marijuana. Additionally, the frequency at which you eat or smoke marijuana also has an impact on how fast it leaves your system overall.

Since THC impairs people at different rates, the police need more than just a positive blood test to prove you're guilty of impaired driving. This gives you a chance to defend yourself.

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