The legal status of marijuana has gone through various changes throughout the United States, so if you feel confused about it, your feeling is understandable. Though the federal government still regards it as a Schedule I controlled substance, many states have approved it for medicinal or recreational purposes.
Even with a medical card that allows you to possess and use marijuana, you can still face charges if authorities catch you driving while under its influence.
How does marijuana impair driving?
According to AAA, research into marijuana shows that it can affect your driving ability in many ways:
- Increased reaction time
- Impaired attention
- Decreased car handling
- Impaired cognitive function
- Decreased physical function
The research shows that marijuana tends to have a greater effect on tasks that you perform routinely, such as those involved in driving, than those on which you have to concentrate.
Another issue is that there is no way for you to know how much THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, is present in your system, nor is there any way of predicting how much of it will impair your driving ability.
What if you have a medical marijuana card?
Driving under the influence is against the law regardless of the substance you use and its legal status. A medical marijuana card may make it legal for you to possess and use the drug, but it does not make it legal for you to get behind the wheel with your driving ability impaired.
Think about it this way: If you are over the age of 21, it is legal for you to purchase and drink alcohol, but it is still illegal for you to drink and drive. Even with a medical card, the same holds true for marijuana.