California Bill Could Outlaw Driving for up to a Week After Smoking Pot

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/cat.mhtml?lang=en&search_source=search_form&search_tracking_id=E441B3A8-7BC3-11E2-AC20-D6E6ACE6966E&version=llv1&anyorall=all&safesearch=1&searchterm=marijuana&search_group=&orient=&search_cat=&searchtermx=&photographer_name=&people_gender=&people_age=&people_ethnicity=&people_number=&commercial_ok=&color=&show_color_wheel=1#id=110784896&src=EA1AB9E6-7BC3-11E2-A623-5E009EA4A24C-1-4">Karen Roach</a>/Shutterstock

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


If you smoke marijuana in California, there’s a chance you may have to wait a week or more before you can drive legally. A bill introduced last week by state Senator Lou Correa, a Democrat from Anaheim, would make it illegal to get behind the wheel if your blood contains “any detectable amount” of cannabis—a drug which, unlike alcohol, can persist in the blood of its users for a week or more after the psychoactive effects have worn off.

“This bill would effectively outlaw EVERY driver who has within recent hours or days used marijuana,” California NORML director Dale Gieringer told the East Bay Express.

Strict traffic laws are fast becoming the new front of the war on drugs. Ten states already impose zero tolerance requirements on pot smokers who get behind the wheel. Another four, including Washington, where pot is now legal, set a blood limit for THC, the active ingredient in cannabis, at a level low enough to convict some drivers who aren’t actually stoned.

Studies suggest that drivers with any amount of cannabis in their blood are on average twice as likely as drug-free drivers to cause an accident. But they’re far less dangerous than drinkers, who cause accidents at nine times the rate of sober drivers. So if Correa really wants to prevent traffic accidents, he might want to worry less about someone who was high a week ago than that guy who just tossed back a few Miller High Lifes.

THIS IS BIG FOR US.

And we won't beat around the bush: Our fundraising drive to finish our current budget on June 30 and start our new fiscal year on July 1 is lagging behind where we need it to be.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please consider joining your fellow readers with a donation to help make it all possible. Whether you can pitch in $5 or $500, it all matters.

If you're new to Mother Jones or aren't yet sold on supporting our nonprofit reporting, please take a moment to read Monika Bauerlein's post about our priorities after these chaotic several years, and why this relatively quiet moment is also an urgent one for our democracy and Mother Jones’ bottom line—and if you find it compelling, please join us.

payment methods

THIS IS BIG FOR US.

And we won't beat around the bush: Our fundraising drive to finish our current budget on June 30 and start our new fiscal year on July 1 is lagging behind where we need it to be.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please consider joining your fellow readers with a donation to help make it all possible. Whether you can pitch in $5 or $500, it all matters.

If you're new to Mother Jones or aren't yet sold on supporting our nonprofit reporting, please take a moment to read Monika Bauerlein's post about our priorities after these chaotic several years, and why this relatively quiet moment is also an urgent one for our democracy and Mother Jones’ bottom line—and if you find it compelling, please join us.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate