Our readers know that Washington's new marijuana law-which, along with a new Colorado law, has become the first of its kind-has been quite a controversial topic, for a number of reasons. Both supporters and opponents of Initiative 502 had their arguments. And among the opponents, there were supporters of legal marijuana who felt the law didn't go far enough.
Up through last November's vote on the measure, the biggest concern of the latter group was that the initiative's DUI provision, which sets a limit of 5 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood for marijuana-related DUIs, would result in a rash of roadway arrests of medical marijuana users.
Thus far, though, there has not been any noticeable increase in the number of blood tests registering above the new legal limit. According to state toxicologist Fiona Cooper, the Washington State Patrol's toxicology lab has completed tests on all blood samples taken from drivers in December, and has started on samples taken in January, and there is been no increase.
According to Couper, roughly 6,000 blood samples from drivers are submitted to the lab, and roughly 1,000 to 1,100 of those come back positive for active THC. The average level is about 6 nanograms.
This is, of course, good news, but it is perhaps a bit soon to be making sweeping judgments about how regular users of medical marijuana will be affected. Caution should still be exercised by medical marijuana users, and those who find themselves in legal difficulty should be quick to obtain legal representation.
Source: Seattle Weekly, "In the Aftermath of I-502, So Far No Increase In Pot DUIs," Matt Driscoll, February 7, 2013.