Attorney Douglas Riddell was featured this weekend in an article discussing the effect of Ohio’s new medical marijuana law may have on OVI arrests in the state.
In the article, Doug discusses the fact that the per se “legal limit” for driving with marijuana in your system is virtually zero. After all, up until now, marijuana has been illegal. But once it becomes legal with a medical card, legislators may have to revisit the idea of a marijuana legal limit and determine–as they have done with alcohol–at what level a driver is truly impaired.
The article notes:
Douglas Riddell, a Columbus defense attorney who represents those charged with drunken and drugged driving, also believes lawmakers will have to revisit the idea of a legal limit for marijuana.
“We still have a legal limit of virtually zero so that they can charge everyone with OVI,” he said. “You can drink wine, beers, or a cocktail and probably be under the limit and safe to drive, but that’s not really the case with marijuana.
“… Logically speaking, I assume that after a while they’re going to have to rethink the legal limit, which is virtually nonexistent.”
Typically in cases where drivers are suspected of marijuana use, a blood or urine test would come only after a driver fails a field sobriety test and is arrested. Even then, Mr. Riddell said about half the drivers refuse the test.
“You can have marijuana the day before, or a day before that, and still show up as over the limit,” he said.
Under existing state law, a driver is considered to be over the marijuana limit if a blood test shows 2 nanograms of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the principal psychoactive element of marijuana, or a urine test of 10 nanograms. A nanogram is one-billionth of a gram.
A full text of the article written by Jim Provance can be found here: Police ready for spike in driving while stoned.
The article was also published in the paper version of the Columbus Dispatch.