Marijuana comes from the cannabis, or hemp, plant and has been used for centuries. Its psychoactive ingredient is Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Marijuana stays in the body for days, and sometimes weeks. Depending on the frequency of smoking, drug tests can detect THC for 30 days or more after a person smokes pot. Hashish is made from the resin of the hemp plant.
Smoking marijuana has been decriminalized. But police still zealously arrest and prosecutors charge persons caught driving after smoking pot.
Most marijuana DUI cases are very hard for the prosecution to prove. If a driver just smoked marijuana without consuming any alcohol, the case is usually very difficult for the prosecution. Recent studies show that at low levels of THC, driving actually improves!
Marijuana DUIs become more problematic if the driver has consumed alcohol and/or controlled drugs in addition to marijuana. Alcohol and/or controlled substances may produce a synergistic effect (the effects of each drug enhances the effect of other drugs or alcohol, and thus create potential greater impairment).
When police suspect marijuana use, they will insist upon a blood or urine test. The test will only show the presence, if any, of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. As stated above, marijuana can be present in the blood for 30 days or more. Therefore, the mere presence of marijuana in a driver’s blood certainly is not evidence of impairment at the time of driving. Moreover, a person who smokes pot regularly may have developed a tolerance to its effects, as well as an ability to compensate for any difficulties experienced while driving after smoking it.
A person charged with a DUI involving marijuana ought to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to review the specific facts of the case.