Police personnel across the United States besides having to deal with drunken driving have another malady to contend with. Increased use of marijuana among drivers is a growing concern, which police are having a difficult time to deal with.
Primarily marijuana is used for a number of medical reasons as well. It is used for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, cancer, HIV, pain, Glaucoma, epilepsy and arthritis. It is not necessarily a cure for the disease but since it possesses pain relieving and nausea fighting qualities it is effective in the management of such diseases and used on a large scale all across the US. In the year 2010, 14 states have laws that permit the use of medical marijuana and while these laws vary in each state the basic purpose remain the same that patients are permitted to seek relief from various painful medical conditions through the use of marijuana treatment.
This apart, police and traffic personnel are not sure how to tell if someone is too high to be seen driving. States that permit the legal use of Marijuana are still trying to determine what the level of this drug should be and what the impairment levels are. Law enforcement officers are plagued with the fact that most traffic offenders brandish the marijuana card with the attitude that they are above the law and cannot be charged with driving under the influence of a drug.
Driving that is affected by the use of any drug – for medical purposes or a recreational pleasure is illegal in the states. But the challenges faced by law enforcement officers needs to be tackled. Unlike alcohol, marijuana stays in the blood even after the effect wears off in a couple of hours after use. Another problem is that there is not test available which can determine the level of impairment or fitness to drive.
Scientists are working on this aspect and according to sources there should soon be a saliva test available which can detect marijuana use, but this still does not address the question of impairment which is a major concern for both Government and police is. Use of Marijuana causes dizziness, slower reaction time and this is what causes drivers to drift off or nod while behind the wheel. A risk of accidents almost doubles if under the influence of marijuana and hence this issue needs to be settled on priority.