The information here is intended to provide general information and should not be construed as legal advice or as a substitute for legal counsel.
Cannabis and Driving
- Driving high is not legal.
- DUI is Driving Under the Influence of any impairing substance or combination of substances, including alcohol, cannabis, over-the-counter drugs, prescription drugs, or illegal substances.
- Being Under the Influence of cannabis means that as a result of using cannabis, your mental or physical abilities are so impaired that you can no longer drive a vehicle with the caution of a sober person, using ordinary care, under similar circumstances.
- Driving with any amount of THC in your body can put you at risk of facing legal consequences. There is no per se amount of THC used to establish impairment.
- Remember that THC can remain in your system for 2 weeks or longer, even if you are no longer high.
- Whether under the influence of adult-use or medicinal-use cannabis, the laws and penalties surrounding DUI are the same.
- Legal ramifications of a DUI conviction may include: a jail or prison sentence, up to $10,000 in fines, a suspended or revoked driver's license, a criminal record, and more.
- It is not legal to use cannabis in a car while it's being operated, even if the car is parked or the person using cannabis is a passenger.
- It is not legal to drive with an open container of cannabis in the car, much like it is not legal to drive with an open container of alcohol.
Effects from inhalation (smoking or vaping) reach their peak about 10-30 minutes after use, though It can take upwards of 2 hours to feel the full psychoactive effects. People who drive immediately after inhaling cannabis double their risk of getting into a car crash.
- Effects from ingesting oral cannabis or edibles take longer to kick-in, peak around 2-4 hours after consumption, and last much longer than those from inhalation.
- Higher doses of THC generally cause greater impariment, especially for those who are new to cannabis use or who use cannabis infrequently.
- Currently, there is no evidence suggesting CBD impairs driving ability.
- Some evidence suggests that CBD may lessen (though not eliminate) impairing effects of THC.
- Cannabis affects the part of the brain that controls body movement, balance, coordination, judgement and memory
- Cannabis slows down reaction time, decreasing a person's ability to make quick decisions
- Using cannabis at the same time as alcohol or other drugs is even more dangerous than when any substance is used on its own
- If you have been using or intend to use cannabis, plan to avoid driving until the effects completely wear off. Arrange for a friend to remain sober, use public transportation, or call a car service such as Uber, Lyft, taxi, etc..
- Because cannabis is fat soluble, know that neither food, water, coffee nor exercise will reduce your impairment or make you a better driver. The only thing that will reduce impairment is time.
- It is every drivers' personal responsibility to practice safe and sober driving habits.
- Always wear your seatbelt - it is your best defense against all kinds of risky drivers.
- Don't let your friends drive impaired. If you are sober, offer to drive them or arrange to have them picked up by a car service, friend, or family member.
- Talk to friends and family members about the legal and safety risks of driving under the influence of cannabis.