Colorado was the first state in the country to pass legislation that legalizes the recreational use of marijuana. Since then, Washington State has also legalized recreational marijuana use. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have laws on the books that legalize marijuana for medical use. In all 50 states and the District of Columbia, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or above .08 percent. However, the states vary widely on what is considered acceptable as far as driving under the influence of drugs.

Colorado has just launched a million dollar advertising campaign which warns drivers that choose to drive “high” or under the influence of marijuana that they will be arrested and charged with driving under the influence or DUI. Much like drivers who choose to drink alcohol and drive, Colorado is cracking down on those drivers who operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of mari0juana. In both Colorado and Washington, lawmakers have decided that motorists that are found to have 5 nanograms or more of active tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as “THC” (the active ingredient in marijuana), are considered to be driving under the influence. In Washington State if a driver is found to have 5 nanograms or more he or she is automatically equals a DUI. In Colorado, a motorist that has 5 or more nanograms of THC in his or her system, has the opportunity in in court to try to rebut the presumption that he or she was impaired at the time he or she was arrested.

However, in states like Kansas, both the recreational use of marijuana and marijuana for medical use are both illegal. Kansas law also provides that is it illegal to operate a motor vehicle if a person is under the influence of a drug or a combination of drugs, which cause the person to be incapable of safely operating a motor vehicle. Kansas law does not differentiate between legal drugs, like a doctor prescribed medication and an illegal drug like cocaine or marijuana. Therefore, the law does not care if a person was high on his or her legally prescribe Vicodin or high on marijuana.

Unlike states like Colorado, that specifically set limits about how much of a drug, like THC, is needed be in the blood to be considered impaired, in Kansas there is no specific limit of how much of a drug must be in a person’s system to be considered legally impaired. Unlike alcohol, which has a clear cut .08 BAC there is no such equivalent for drug use. This means that an officer’s decision to arrest is based mostly on his or her observations of the motorist. This law is different from more than 10 states that consider a person to be driving under the influence of drugs if the person tests positive for any measurable amount of an illegal drug or other controlled substance.

If you were arrested on suspicious of being high or under the influence of drugs or alcohol and charged with a DUI you need a seasoned advocate to protect your rights. For more than thirty years, Kansas Criminal Defense Attorney Charles E. Whitman has been defending men and women charged with DUI. To schedule your free confidential consultation contact the Whitman Law Offices today at (785) 843-9460. At the Whitman Law Offices, we make sure that you receive superior legal services. We take the take the time to advise you on the law and thoroughly the facts related to your case. You can trust the Whitman Law Offices to explore all defenses.

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