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Marijuana and Intoxicated Driving in California

Posted on in DUI

California marijuana DUI lawyerMedical marijuana has been legal in California for two decades. Last year’s election also brought an approval of recreational cannabis use in California. Unfortunately, there is still a lot of confusion about what it means to drive under the influence of marijuana. Learn more about the laws, and what you can do if you are arrested for driving under the influence of cannabis.

California Still Lacks a Definitive Limit

With alcohol intoxication, the law is straightforward: anyone driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or greater is subject to criminal charges. With cannabis, there is no such limit. Recently, a bill that would impose a 5ng/ml blood level for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) was passed through the Committee on Public Safety. It is now heading to the Committee on Appropriations. Until it passes fully through the system, the law remains confusing and contradictory. There is no limit, and that means one person might be arrested for trace amounts, despite not being intoxicated, but another person might not be.

Why All the Confusion?

While some states do have limits in place, others deal with the same state of confusion as California – but from where does it originate? The truth is, some components of THC remain within the body for an extended time-period. At what level does a person’s driving become impaired (if ever)? At what level does the effect wear off? Further, what level indicates that a driver used cannabis earlier in the day, or perhaps the day before? No one seems to agree. Potential Consequences for Driving Under the Influence

As of now, there is no differentiation between driving under the influence of alcohol or marijuana within the state of California. That means consequences are typically the same: an arrest, a summary license suspension, administrative fees, possible jail time or probation, and reinstatement fees. Thankfully, you do not have to accept the charge. Instead, you can fight back with help from an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

Protecting Your Rights After an Arrest

The Constitution affords U.S. citizens certain rights, including the right to legal counsel when facing criminal charges. Rather than deal with your charges alone, contact John W. Thornton, Attorney at Law. Dedicated and experienced, our Santa Cruz DUI defense lawyer can protect your rights. Call 831-426-5800 and schedule your personalized consultation today.


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