The state of Maryland has become one of the multitude of states to legalize the use of medical marijuana. Marijuana has long been a controlled substance with conviction of even as small amount as 10 grams being punishable by incarceration. Now, not only has it become legal for medical users, there is a strong push in the legislature for legalizing up to 4 ounces for personal use. A poll shows that Maryland voters are about 50-50 when it comes to legalization, and one of the primary reasons given by detractors is the auto accident potential.
Cannabis accidents by the numbers
Cannabis is by far the most commonly used illicit drug across the nation. One study conducted by assessing 50,000 cannabis users and their intoxicated driving citations following accidents indicates that THC has an impact on the number of drivers who have accidents while under the influence. The time frame of activity ranged from high at 40 minutes to a significant reduction after 240 minutes.
Potential number skewing
While the study did show an increase in accident rates involving DUI arrests for drivers under the influence of cannabis, what it fails to reflect is the fact that cannabis latency is the longest of any commonly used drug. It can remain latent in the system for up to 30 days for regular users. This means that medical prescription users could effectively test positive for cannabis at all times.
The problem with using this type of report is this latency issue. No one has yet developed a test that measures THC activity at a particular time; it merely measures body presence. Further research needs to be done regarding how THC affects a person’s ability to drive and how to test for this.