Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak has signed legislation into law easing marijuana possession penalties for minors and amending the state’s per se driving limits for THC.
The legislation provides an affirmative defense for motorists who test positive for the presence of either THC or its metabolite, but who are not responsible for a traffic accident and who show no evidence of intoxication.
Drivers testing positive for the presence of THC in blood do not possess a significantly increased risk of being responsible for a non-fatal motor vehicle accident, according to data published in the journal Addiction.
Per se driving limits for the presence of THC are arbitrary and may improperly classify motorists who are not behaviorally impaired, according to the findings of a study published by the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on Friday issued an amendatory veto to House Bill 218, which seeks to decriminalize minor marijuana possession offenses. If a majority of lawmakers fail to approve of the Governor’s amendments, the measure will be dead for this year’s legislative session.
The Arizona Supreme Court this week rejected a 1990 state law that classified the presence of inert THC metabolites in blood or urine as a per se traffic safety violation. The Court concluded: “Because the legislature intended to prevent impaired driving, we hold that the ‘metabolite’ reference in § 28-1381(A)(3) is limited to any of a proscribed substance’s metabolites that are capable of causing impairment. Accordingly, … drivers cannot be convicted of the (A)(3) offense based merely on the presence of a non-impairing metabolite that may reflect the prior usage of marijuana.”
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has signed legislation, House Bill 1441, into law that criminalizes drivers from operating a motor vehicle if they have any detectable amount of THC and/or its inactive metabolites in their blood or urine. Under such internal possession statutes, known as zero tolerance per se laws, motorists who test positive for the presence of such compounds are guilty per se (in fact) of a criminal traffic safety violation, regardless of whether or not there exist supporting evidence that a defendant was behaviorally impaired by such compounds.
A Michigan traffic safety law that prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle by persons who possess any presence of THC in their blood, regardless of whether or not they are behaviorally impaired by the substance, may not be strictly applied to state-qualified medical cannabis patients.