Drivers Everywhere Still Subject To Marijuana DUII

By Habit 420

Oregon Cannabis Connection



December 30, 2016 – Cannabis consumers in Oregon, and other legal marijuana states, are urged to be careful this weekend as the New Year holiday approaches and they are out for a good time Saturday night. For years, local jurisdictions have increased patrols for Driving Under The Influence of Intoxicants (DUII) on New Years Eve, which includes marijuana, and this year is no different.

A number of local sheriff departments in Oregon have put out notices that patrols will be increased, and marijuana is on the agenda. They are warning residents that DUII is something they are looking for this time of year.

A Clackamas County Sheriff statement said:

“The men and women of the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind citizens across Oregon, that everyone can play a role in preventing impaired drivers. If you or those around you drink alcohol and/or consume other impairing substances, such as marijuana, please make responsible transportation plans. If you witness impaired driving, don’t hesitate to report it to your local authorities; it may save a life.”

And a similar message went out to Tillamook County residents from their local Sheriff:

“Tillamook County will have over a dozen law enforcement officers out on patrol. Officers trained to identify signs of an impaired driver will be on high alert. People should also be aware that marijuana is considered an intoxicant. Being under the influence of marijuana while driving is grounds for a DUII, despite Oregon’s recent legalization of marijuana. DUII patrols will continue through New Year’s Day as needed.”

Although many people that smoke marijuana don’t think they are significantly impaired after consuming cannabis, and some studies indicate there is little to no impairment, most studies show that drivers are impaired, though less so than drunk drivers. Most recently a study by AAA suggested drivers were twice as likely to be involved in an accident if they had recently consumed cannabis, but it’s accuracy was disputed almost immediately and the study was found by some researchers to be flawed.

A more recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health showed that fatalities have dropped in states with legal marijuana, contradicting the AAA study. The study from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health found that states that have passed medical marijuana laws saw an 11% reduction in traffic fatalities since their laws went into effect.

Other studies indicate that the combination of alcohol and marijuana can be detrimental, and that a “synergistic” effect can make people highly impaired. In one study, The Effect of Cannabis Compared With Alcohol on Driving, which was published in the American Journal of Addiction, researchers had recommendations for marijuana intoxication and driving and warned of the “synergistic” effect which can occur with cannabis and alcohol consumption.

The 2009 study concluded:

“In the meantime, patients who smoke marijuana should be counseled to have a designated driver if possible, to wait at least three hours after smoking before driving if not, that marijuana is particularly likely to impair monotonous or prolonged driving, and that mixing marijuana with alcohol will produce much more impairment than either drug used alone.

Bottom line…Be safe. Call a cab – or Uber – or have a designated driver if you have been using alcohol or cannabis, and especially both. The legal adult use states – Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, Colorado, Alaska, and Washington D.C. – will be especially vigilant so be extra careful in those places.

© 2016 Oregon Cannabis Connection. All rights reserved.


Habit 420 is a Oregon Medical Marijuana Program participant for over ten years, a grower, and an activist. He believes cannabis has a unique place in our society and should be embraced for medical and adult use. To correspond with him, email him at

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