Laws surrounding medical marijuana are changing throughout the country, but the biggest problem with decriminalizing Marijuana are the driving laws in Florida regarding driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Florida does not have any firm grip on its driving regulations for when someone is under the influence of marijuana and how high a level it would have to be to consider the person impaired. Blood tests can only go so far, but there are no concrete tests to determine the state of someone being high on marijuana and getting behind the wheel of a car.

Driving impaired

Marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug. Under federal law, no one can research its effects on how much marijuana someone can consume or smoke before becoming impaired behind the wheel.

Dr. Rick Yost, a professor from the University of Florida, is helping to develop a breathalyzer test for marijuana. “We’ve certainly never conducted tests at this university because it’s illegal,” Dr. Yost said to Tampa Bay Times.

Because of the hindrance of not being able to research medical marijuana impairment thanks to the federal restriction on the drug, states have set up their own rules of how impaired you might be. Twelve states say that you are impaired if you have any trace of marijuana in your system. One state says a single nanogram of THC, basically a buzz, is enough for impairment. Two states say five nanograms for impairment and two other states it’s two nanograms for impairment.

Combat equipment

Rep. Dave Kerner of Lake Worth says that it is very troubling that there is no set limit of impairment in Florida.

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Rep. Kerner has dealt with DUI cases by playing both police officer and prosecutor. Last year when a teenage girl in Palm Beach County was killed by someone impaired by marijuana, Rep. Kerner legislated that setting a marijuana impairment level should be standard for fatal traffic accidents. He set the notion that five nanograms were enough for impairment.

However,Rep. Kerner is open to change the ruling. “I’m supportive of relaxing our marijuana laws, but the reality is if we do that, we have to have a system in place for accountability,” Rep. Kerner said to Tampa Bay Times, “And right now, it doesn’t exist.”

The problem with blood tests that involve marijuana is that the drug can stay in your system for up to a month. The breathalyzer test that Dr. Yost is creating could be the game changer to be able to see who has used cannabis recently.