With the passage of I-502 in Washington State, police from Snohomish, King, and Pierce Counties are reminding drivers that if you drive high, you can get a DUI.
DUI Emphasis Patrols will be in place the first two weeks of July as communities celebrate the arrival of summer and the 4th of July.
While I-502 legalized the possession of pot for adults over the age of 21, it is still illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. Like alcohol and some prescription or over-the-counter drugs, even if it’s legal to consume, it’s not always safe to drive after consumption.
Marijuana contains THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the chemical which causes most of the effects that leaves the user feeling “high.” When smoked, THC is rapidly absorbed into the blood stream and it is often unpredictable how long it will take to feel the effect, or how long it will last.
Police can base arrests on results of a blood draw, but can also make an arrest on observed impairment even low marijuana levels can present problems for drivers. The advice police in Washington State are offering this summer: if you get high, find a designated driver.
“It’s difficult for anyone to judge how impaired they are after smoking pot. Any amount of marijuana consumption puts a person at risk of getting a DUI,” said Sheriff Ty Trenary. “If you get high, it’s just good idea to find someone else to drive.”
Anyone booked for DUI will spend at least one day in jail. Courts can issue a fine to a DUI offender of up to $5,000 and legal costs can exceed $5,000. Penalties are increased if there are children in the vehicle.
King, Pierce, and Snohomish County DUI and Target Zero Teams want to encourage you to plan accordingly and kick off the summer season safely. Extra enforcement patrols for troopers, deputies, and officers are paid for by a grant from the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.