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Marijuana laws may not accurately measure drivers' impairment

New York residents may know that driving under the influence of drugs such as cannabis is illegal. According to the AAA safety foundation, laws determining whether a driver is impaired by marijuana have no scientific merit. States such as Colorado, Montana and Pennsylvania determine whether a driver is impaired based on how much THC is in their system. However, researchers say that it is almost impossible to determine whether a driver has used recently or has merely used at some point in the past.

The difference in state laws mean that some drivers may be taken into custody while others are allowed to go free. Instead, AAA recommends that a specially trained police officer look at several factors to determine if a driver is impaired or not. For instance, the officer could look at whether a driver has dilated pupils or if he or she is acting strangely to determine impairment levels. The color of a driver's tongue may also be an indicator of recent marijuana use.

Understanding how to check for driver impairment will become more important in upcoming years. This is because as many as 11 states will vote in the fall of 2016 to decide whether to legalize marijuana for medical or recreational purposes. In addition to New York, 23 other states have also made medical marijuana legal.

Someone who is facing multiple drunk driving charges may benefit from the advice of an attorney. A lawyer may be able to create defenses to the charges, which may result in an acquittal or plea bargain. For instance, it may be possible to argue that a driver was suffering a medical condition that imitated signs of impairment.

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