Growing Georgia Focus: Pot Use and Impaired Driving

A quick state-of-the-states spotlight on legal marijuana schemes reveals a wide disparity among various laws across the country, but a progressively growing acceptance of legal pot use in some form.

A recent Atlanta Journal-Constitution article underscores that, while Georgia does not permit recreational marijuana use, it does allow for limited possession and use of pot for approved medical purposes.

Growing marijuana in the state is another matter. Many people have been criminally prosecuted for that activity.

Things could change on that front, though. State legislators are soon slated to consider a bill that sets forth a statutory “growing” scheme for licensed parties. A principal advocate of that would-be law says that its enactment will help a select audience “without moving the state closer to legalization of marijuana for recreational use.”

If a new law pass is passed, how will law enforcers seek to measure the THC level of motorists they believe are impaired while behind the wheel?

That has long been a sticky problem for police agencies nationally. Measuring motorists’ impairment from marijuana use has never been a simple matter. Whereas a uniform standard has been developed to measure the blood alcohol content of drivers who have consumed alcohol, there is nothing similar to gauge alleged diminishment in motorists who have consumed marijuana.

That won’t stop police officers from making judgments, though, says one Georgia law enforcement principal. He stresses that a finding of any THC in a motorist that is established through a blood test can result in a behind-the-wheel impairment charge if it is “coupled with evidence of unsafe driving.”

That assessment will always be somewhat subjective. It goes to the heart of the so-called “probable cause” that officers must have to stop a driver and make an arrest for impaired driving.

Georgia drivers often have strong reasons to contest driving charges related to alcohol or drug use. They can turn for assistance to attorneys from an established criminal defense law firm for guidance and, when necessary, diligent legal representation.

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