Stoned Driving Epidemic Puts Wrinkle In Pot Debate

March 18, 2012 12:00 AM

Stoned Driving Epidemic Puts Wrinkle In Pot Debate
" DENVER (AP) – Angeline Chilton says she can’t drive unless she smokes pot.

The suburban Denver woman uses medical marijuana to ease multiple sclerosis symptoms and says she’d never get behind the wheel right after smoking. But her case underscores a problem that no one’s sure how to solve: How do you tell if someone is too stoned to drive?

States that allow medical marijuana have grappled with determining impairment levels for years. And voters in Colorado and Washington state will decide this fall whether to legalize the drug for recreational use, bringing a new urgency to the issue.

A Denver marijuana advocate says officials are scrambling for limits in part because more drivers acknowledge using the drug.

“The explosion of medical marijuana patients has led to a lot of drivers sticking the (marijuana) card in law enforcement’s face, saying, ‘You can’t do anything to me, I’m legal,’” said Sean McAllister, a lawyer who defends people charged with driving under the influence of marijuana.

It’s not that simple. Driving while impaired by any drug is illegal in all states.

But it highlights the challenges law enforcement officers face using old tools to try to fix a new problem "

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