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Criminal Defense From A Former Prosecutor

3 things to know about marijuana use and driving in California

As of January 2018, recreational use of marijuana is now legal in California. Before you start consuming the drug regularly, you need to be aware of the laws that are still in place regarding its use or you can find yourself facing criminal charges.

Marijuana affects your cognition and physical abilities just as any other drug, so follow these new California regulations to ensure compliance with the law.

1. Do not drive high

Just as it is illegal to drive while drunk although drinking alcohol is legal, it is also illegal to drive while intoxicated on marijuana even though using cannabis is legal. If the police pull you over and find you stoned, you can receive a DUI, among other charges.

Furthermore, unlike the 0.08 percent BAC limit, there is no minimum or maximum on how much THC you can have in your body. If an officer finds you impaired, no matter how much marijuana is in your system, you may find yourself in legal trouble.

2. No consuming or smoking in a vehicle

On a related note, you cannot eat, smoke or ingest cannabis in any other way while driving or riding in a car. Passengers must be aware of this detail to avoid issues. This law does present some problems for police, as it may not be easy to tell based on visuals alone that you are using marijuana and not a tobacco product. However, this can become apparent during a traffic stop for a different violation.

3. Store it properly

If you are transporting marijuana, you need to store it properly while driving. You can have it in the cab in a sealed container; open containers must be locked away in the trunk. Just as with open alcohol containers, visible cannabis may be enough to receive charges of use while driving.

As these laws are just going into effect, it will take some time to work out all the bugs and dispel confusion over application and punishment. In the meantime, avoid using or having cannabis in your car, and if you face legal trouble, call an attorney.

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