Even When Legal, Marijuana Impacts Safe Driving

During the contentious and divisive election of 2016, it seemed like there was nothing Floridians could agree on. But they did manage to unite on one surprising thing: marijuana!

Florida voters showed up in favor of Amendment 2, which legalizes the use of cannabis for people with certain medical conditions. Under this new law, people with severe medical conditions like HIV/AIDS, cancer, and multiple sclerosis can buy cannabis from an approved seller after obtaining approval from their licensed physician. Cannabis helps to relieve pain and nausea, which makes it benefical for people with serious or chronic health problems.

Florida’s Marijuana Laws

At this point, marijuana is only legal for medical use in Florida. This means that a person may not possess marijuana or any other controlled substance without facing a punishment of a second degree felony. In some other states, however, this isn’t the case. In Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Colorado, Alaska, Maine, and Massachusetts, marijuana is legal for recreational purposes.

Controversy, concern, and debate often meet this topic. But while lawmakers and citizens discuss marijuana’s effects on crime and the economy, another critical question gets overlooked. How does marijuana affect driving?

Marijuana and Driving

In every state where marijuana is fully legal, it’s still illegal to drive under the influence. Washington and Colorado have explicit laws prohibiting people from having marijuana in their cars. Nevada and California consider 5 nanograms of active tetrahydocannabidoil or THC, the main component of cannabis, in the bloodstream to be the legal limit for driving.

Driving while high can be very dangerous. Cannabis affects coordination and judgment, making it difficult for a driver to make safe, efficient decisions. For these reasons, marijuana is the drug most commonly present in the blood of drivers in fatal vehicle crashes. When a person’s judgement or coordination is impaired, they are not only a danger to themselves, but also to others.

Common Misconceptions

Shockingly, some people don’t comprehend the dangers of driving under the influence. According to a recent study, 33% of teens believe that it’s legal to drive under the influence of marijuana. An additional 20% of teens said that they or their friends frequently drive after using marijuana. And the problem isn’t just teens. 27% of adults believe the same thing, and 36% say they feel comfortable driving after using marijuana. While 88% say that drinking and driving is dangerous, only 68% believe that driving under the influence of marijuana is dangerous.

Marijuana has some undeniable benefits. However, it’s still important to acknowledge the dangerous effect it can have on driving. So if you’re a Floridian who is looking forward to a day when marijuana is finally legalized, now is the time to start learning how you can keep the roads safe for everyone.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.


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