JOPLIN, Mo. — It’s now been four months since Missouri kicked off the legal sale of recreational marijuana, which is translating to more than just busy cash registers at dispensaries.
Joplin attorney Judd McPherson says he’s seeing more cases of DUIs for marijuana instead of alcohol. He points out that legal concerns for driver impairment are the same regardless of the substance, but there are differences in each charge. For example, drivers can have a low level of alcohol in their system and drive without getting a ticket, but that’s not the case for marijuana.
“Kind of the difficult thing for us to defend is there is no amount that you can say, ‘Well, this person blew under’ as far as alcohol. If you have it in your system, we’re simply trying to argue against the impairment aspect of it,” said McPherson
There’s also a difference in how a driver is tested for impairment. When alcohol is involved, it’s often a breath test to confirm the amount of alcohol in the system. However, there’s no reliable breath test for marijuana. Instead, a blood test is used to check for the presence of the drug.