How Will Police Decide Who Is Too High To Drive?

Increasingly, marijuana is becoming legal across the country — either for medical use or to relax with a few episodes of The Good Place. But driving under the influence isn’t just for alcoholics; it’s for anybody who’s consumed mind-altering substances that impairs their ability to make quick decisions and observe their environment. In other words, getting high might be legal but getting behind the wheel while high isn’t (nor should it be).

One problem: Actually proving a driver is too high to drive, legally, is tougher than you might think. Unlike alcohol, there’s no breathalyzer test that you can take to definitively prove if someone is high as a kite or stone sober. Nor do most field impairment tests really help officers determine somebody is “too high to drive.” It’s possible to test blood or urine for signs of THC, but these tests reveal consumption across a span of 30 days. There are breathalyzers in the works that will detect THC levels, but none of them have made it to the market.

Until technology and policing catches up with the law, “driving while high” is going to be a serious issue. Leaving it up to police discretion is going to open the doors for race, gender, and financial bias to creep in.