To all I wish a Happy new year and safe travels in the days to come. For those residing within states within our union presently undergoing drastic action in regard to the liberalization of Marijuana laws and penalties, the time ahead may be one fraught with widespread changes on the horizon in regard to traffic enforcement.
Although at the present time the state of Indiana is not one contemplating measures by which to allow for medical Marijuana usage, much less the freedom to lawfully engage in the recreational use of Marijuana, Colorado’s present experiment as to the issue of the lawful sale and possession of the recreational use of Marijuana will serve to redirect the discussion of dui enforcement in the foreseeable future.
This renewed focus in Colorado and other states allowing for the lawful ingestion of Marijuana is likely to expand to the detection and apprehension of impaired drivers, not exclusively through alcohol, but by the anticipated proliferation of Marijuana usage among licensed drivers.
Unknown to most within the general public, but discussed previously within my website, in Indiana and elsewhere one may be charged and lawfully convicted for the crime of Operating a Motor Vehicle with a Metabolite within one’s system. Specifically in regard to the presence of Cannabanoids (Marijuana) within the bloodstream of a licensed motorist, a lawful conviction able to withstand appellate court challenge will exist irrespective of whether there is evidence to suggest any impairment on the part of the accused driver in question.
Significantly, cannabanoids may be potentially detected within one’s bloodstream for weeks after the inhalation and/or consumption of Marijuana. For the licensed driver who may hypothetically be involved in an accident not his or her fault, or irrationally arouse the suspicion of a law enforcement officer, probable cause to initiate a blood draw for the detection of Marijuana will remain a looming potential threat by which to curb the widespread potential of driving with Marijuana within one’s system no matter how remote in time the Marijuana was initially ingested.
Such realities are noteworthy, for if individual county sherriffs even within states legalizing the use of Marijuana unilaterally decide to impose personal views to deter the use of Marijuana, selective enforcement of laws that will enable the prosecution of drivers under Metabolite type statutes will be permitted to become abused.
As a result, in states such as Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, Maine and Illinois that have liberalized Marijuana laws, as well those that may do so in the future, all drivers must now take heed to the realities that nationwide law enforcement efforts may prove to ramp up an ever increasing presence in the investigation and ultimate detention of motorists consuming Marijuana no matter the state jurisdiction on a daily basis.
Those lawyers devoting to their efforts to restraining practices of law enforcement that seek to overstep authority as to the unlawful stop and detention of licensed motorists will be keen to monitor the events unfolding on the subject within states seeking to establish a growing acceptance as to the use of Marijuana.
Thereafter, I suspect a new battlefront will eventually be established in the months and years to come among defense lawyers working to curtail practices of law enforcement that seek to profit from the increased apprehension of those motorists lawfully (or not) engaged in the recreational or medically excused use of Marijuana.