A proposed bill in California would make driving while under the influence of marijuana an automatic DUI offense. The bill was introduced by Assemblywoman Norma Torres.
The proposed bill would make it so any level of “cannabinoids or synthetic cannabinoid compound” in a driver’s blood or urine up to three hours after a traffic stop would equate to a DUI.
According to California NORML, cannabinoids can remain in the body for days or even weeks after marijuana consumption. Because of this, driving at any point could mean a DUI for a regular or even casual medical marijuana user.
The bill was introduced at the end of February, with no accompanying press release. Word of the bill gained attention after NORML published a press release this weekend.
The bill has yet to be assigned to a committee in the Assembly. In order for the bill to become law, it must pass the committee as well as both houses of the Legislature, then be signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.
It is currently unclear what means police would use to test field sobriety to determine whether a cannabinoid test would be appropriate.
California NORML Director Dale Gieringer explained, “There is no relationship between impairment and the presence cannabinoids in urine. Secondly, there is no relationship between impairment and the presence of non-psychoactive cannabinoid metabolites in blood. Third, there is extensive evidence that safe driving is not incompatible with low levels of active THC in the blood.”