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house Bill H.R. 4179

Regulating Stoned Drivers Like Drunk Drivers

Argument in favor

States that have legalized marijuana need to protect pedestrians and other motorists by creating a standard for identifying marijuana-impaired drivers.

Loraki's Opinion
···
04/16/2017
1.) THC produces alterations in motor behavior, perception, cognition, memory, learning, endocrine function, food intake, and regulation of body temperature. 2.) Plasma THC concentrations generally fall below 5 ng/mL less than 3 hours after smoking. THC is highly lipid soluble, and plasma and urinary elimination half-lives are best estimated at 3-4 days, where the rate-limiting step is the slow redistribution to plasma of THC sequestered in the tissues. Shorter half-lives are generally reported due to limited collection intervals and less sensitive analytical methods. Plasma THC concentrations in occasional users rapidly fall below limits of quantitation within 8 to 12 h. 3.) Mathematical models have been developed to estimate the time of marijuana exposure within a 95% confidence interval. Knowing the elapsed time from marijuana exposure can then be used to predict impairment in concurrent cognitive and psychomotor effects based on data in the published literature. 4.) Detection of total THC metabolites in urine, primarily THC-COOH-glucuronide, only indicates prior THC exposure. Detection time is well past the window of intoxication and impairment. 5.) Following single doses of Marinol®, low levels of dronabinol metabolites have been detected for more than 5 weeks in urine. Low concentrations of THC have also been measured in over-the-counter hemp oil products – consumption of these products may produce positive urine cannabinoid test results. 6.) Effects: Pharmacological effects of marijuana vary with dose, route of administration, experience of user, vulnerability to psychoactive effects, and setting of use. Psychological: At recreational doses, effects include relaxation, euphoria, relaxed inhibitions, sense of well-being, disorientation, altered time and space perception, lack of concentration, impaired learning and memory, alterations in thought formation and expression, drowsiness, sedation, mood changes such as panic reactions and paranoia, and a more vivid sense of taste, sight, smell, and hearing. Stronger doses intensify reactions and may cause fluctuating emotions, flights of fragmentary thoughts with disturbed associations, a dulling of attention despite an illusion of heightened insight, image distortion, and psychosis. Physiological: The most frequent effects include increased heart rate, reddening of the eyes, dry mouth and throat, increased appetite, and vasodilatation. 7.) Side Effect Profile: Fatigue, paranoia, possible psychosis, memory problems, depersonalization, mood alterations, urinary retention, constipation, decreased motor coordination, lethargy, slurred speech, and dizziness. Impaired health including lung damage, behavioral changes, and reproductive, cardiovascular and immunological effects have been associated with regular marijuana use. Regular and chronic marijuana smokers may have many of the same respiratory problems that tobacco smokers have (daily cough and phlegm, symptoms of chronic bronchitis), as the amount of tar inhaled and the level of carbon monoxide absorbed by marijuana smokers is 3 to 5 times greater than among tobacco smokers. Smoking marijuana while shooting up cocaine has the potential to cause severe increases in heart rate and blood pressure. 8.) Duration of Effects: Effects from smoking cannabis products are felt within minutes and reach their peak in 10-30 minutes. Typical marijuana smokers experience a high that lasts approximately 2 hours. Most behavioral and physiological effects return to baseline levels within 3-5 hours after drug use, although some investigators have demonstrated residual effects in specific behaviors up to 24 hours, such as complex divided attention tasks. Psychomotor impairment can persist after the perceived high has dissipated. In long term users, even after periods of abstinence, selective attention (ability to filter out irrelevant information) has been shown to be adversely affected with increasing duration of use, and speed of information processing has been shown to be impaired with increasing frequency of use. Dronabinol has an onset of 30-60 minutes, peak effects occur at 2-4 hours, and it can stimulate the appetite for up to 24 hours. 9.) Tolerance, Dependence and Withdrawal Effect: Tolerance may develop to some pharmacological effects of dronabinol. Tolerance to many of the effects of marijuana may develop rapidly after only a few doses, but also disappears rapidly. Marijuana is addicting as it causes compulsive drug craving, seeking, and use, even in the face of negative health and social consequences. Additionally, animal studies suggests marijuana causes physical dependence. A withdrawal syndrome is commonly seen in chronic marijuana users following abrupt discontinuation. Symptoms include restlessness, irritability, mild agitation, hyperactivity, insomnia, nausea, cramping, decreased appetite, sweating, and increased dreaming. When taken concurrently with alcohol, marijuana is more likely to be a traffic safety risk factor than when consumed alone. 10.) Performance Effects: The short term effects of marijuana use include problems with memory and learning, distorted perception, difficultly in thinking and problem-solving, and loss of coordination. Heavy users may have increased difficulty sustaining attention, shifting attention to meet the demands of changes in the environment, and in registering, processing and using information. In general, laboratory performance studies indicate that sensory functions are not highly impaired, but perceptual functions are significantly affected. The ability to concentrate and maintain attention are decreased during marijuana use, and impairment of hand-eye coordination is dose-related over a wide range of dosages.Impairment in retention time and tracking, subjective sleepiness, distortion of time and distance, vigilance, and loss of coordination in divided attention tasks have been reported. Note however, that subjects can often “pull themselves together” to concentrate on simple tasks for brief periods of time. Significant performance impairments are usually observed for at least 1-2 hours following marijuana use, and residual effects have been reported up to 24 hours. 11.) Effects on Driving: The drug manufacturer suggests that patients receiving treatment with Marinol® should be specifically warned not to drive until it is established that they are able to tolerate the drug and perform such tasks safely. Epidemiology data from road traffic arrests and fatalities indicate that after alcohol, marijuana is the most frequently detected psychoactive substance among driving populations. Marijuana has been shown to impair performance on driving simulator tasks and on open and closed driving courses for up to approximately 3 hours. Decreased car handling performance, increased reaction times, impaired time and distance estimation, inability to maintain headway, lateral travel, subjective sleepiness, motor incoordination, and impaired sustained vigilance have all been reported. Some drivers may actually be able to improve performance for brief periods by overcompensating for self-perceived impairment. The greater the demands placed on the driver, however, the more critical the likely impairment. Marijuana may particularly impair monotonous and prolonged driving. Decision times to evaluate situations and determine appropriate responses increase. Mixing alcohol and marijuana may dramatically produce effects greater than either drug on its own. DEC Profile: Horizontal gaze nystagmus not present; vertical gaze nystagmus not present; lack of convergence present; pupil size normal to dilated; reaction to light normal to slow; pulse rate elevated; blood pressure elevated; body temperature normal to elevated. Other characteristic indicators may include odor of marijuana in car or on subject’s breath, marijuana debris in mouth, green coating of tongue, bloodshot eyes, body and eyelid tremors, relaxed inhibitions, incomplete thought process, and poor performance on field sobriety tests. Panel’s Assessment of Driving Risks: Low doses of THC moderately impair cognitive and psychomotor tasks associated with driving, while severe driving impairment is observed with high doses, chronic use and in combination with low doses of alcohol The more difficult and unpredictable the task, the more likely marijuana will impair performance. https://one.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/research/job185drugs/cannabis.htm *************************** Based on the information given above, it is my opinion that stoned drivers SHOULD be regulated like drunk drivers, because of the extent to which THC causes impairment! Personally, I think that unless you're taking medicinal marijuana under the supervision of a doctor, you're nuts to risk becoming addicted to this drug (and a lot of others, as well!). I'm going to search for more information, including statistics on the frequency of traffic violations and accidents caused by driving stoned.
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Eric's Opinion
···
03/16/2015
Legalizing Marijuana does not diminish a citizens responsibility to the public. As with alcohol, marijuana use should be a RESPONSIBLE right of usage. Those who choose to violate that responsibility should be held accountable under the existing DUI for
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Josh's Opinion
···
06/07/2016
If you're impaired you shouldn't be driving. A fair and accurate test would have to be created, but you can't just say there's no risk or penalty for driving impaired in some way
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Argument opposed

Because there is not a definitive way to test if a driver is actually driving under the influence of marijuana, this bill could give a lot of innocent people unjust DUIs.

···
05/13/2015
If the government can scientifically prove that being high on marijuana while operating a vehicle poses the same risk as a drunk behind the wheel then go for it. Otherwise treat this differently and come up with a regulation that separately addresses being high while driving, because they are not the same thing.
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Katie's Opinion
···
05/20/2015
There is no field test comparable to the breathalyzer for marijuana. And the ones that have been developed could test positive even hours after medicating and is no longer under the influence, creating an unjust arrest.
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Scott's Opinion
···
04/26/2016
Currently, there is no way to tell if a driver is too high to safely drive. There will not be a way to know the safe amount of cannibis or to measure that amount in a driver unless legalization occurs. At that point, research will need to be done to answer the questions surrounding high driving.
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What is House Bill H.R. 4179?

This bill would extend the federal definition of impaired driving to include motorists who are under the influence of marijuana. Beware, stoned drivers.

H.R. 4179 — otherwise known as the Limiting Unsafe Cannabis-Impaired Driving (LUCID) Act — would push law enforcement in states that have legalized any form of marijuana to:
  • Create a law that prohibits people from driving or controlling a vehicle when they are impaired by marijuana;
  • Enforce said law by outlining a standard that law enforcement officials can use to determine if a motorist is too high to drive.

Under this bill, states that have legalized any form of marijuana would be ineligible for federal funds if they fail to comply with the above federal regulations to prevent intoxicated driving. On the flip side, states that have legalized weed and are complying with these rules could be eligible for more funding to help with implementation.

Impact

Motorists who drive under the influence, pedestrians and other motorists, states that have legalized some form of marijuana, and their local law enforcement departments.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4179

The CBO does not have a cost estimate at this time.

More Information

In Depth:

An especially notable part of this bill is that states would be creating and implementing their own standards of how to detect marijuana-impaired driving.  Intoxicated drivers who are repeatedly caught behind the wheel would receive civil or criminal penalties (at a minimum). While this seems reasonable enough, it could end in a lot of undeserved DUIs.

When alcohol is the intoxicating factor, impaired driving is easy to detect. Breathalyzers can accurately test a motorist's blood-alcohol content can on the side of the road. Plus there is an endless collection of data that connects high levels of blood alcohol to a impaired ability to operate a vehicle. The same cannot be said for marijuana. As Matt Ferner

"With no fully reliable method of on-site testing for THC, marijuana's main psychoactive ingredient, law enforcement depends on blood and urine samples to determine if an individual has too much THC in the bloodstream. In Colorado, for instance, 'too much' is defined as 5 nanograms. But because THC remains in the blood stream for an extended period of time, a regular user could test over the limit while not being high or physically impaired. Similarly, an infrequent user could test below the 5-nanogram limit while still being too high to drive safely."

So, while the debate over how pot actually effects drivers, critics of this bill are worried that it could mar the driving records of a lot of innocent motorists. 

H.R. 4179's supporters argue that while it isn't perfect, there needs to be some regulation on marijuana-impaired driving. Sponsoring Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) noted in his press release:

“As more and more states follow the will of their citizens and implement regulations to treat marijuana like alcohol, it is vital that we keep our roads safe and save lives by updating our driving under the influence laws. The LUCID Act creates a single federal standard that will protect the public from impaired drivers and train law enforcement officials to effectively identify offenders.”

Media:

Sponsoring Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) Press Release

High Times

The Colorado Observer

The Huffington Post

Vice Motherboard
(Photo Credit: The Lexi Cinema)

AKA

Lucid Act

Official Title

To amend title 23, United States Code, to establish requirements relating to marijuana impaired driving, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
      Highways and Transit
    IntroducedMarch 6th, 2014
    1.) THC produces alterations in motor behavior, perception, cognition, memory, learning, endocrine function, food intake, and regulation of body temperature. 2.) Plasma THC concentrations generally fall below 5 ng/mL less than 3 hours after smoking. THC is highly lipid soluble, and plasma and urinary elimination half-lives are best estimated at 3-4 days, where the rate-limiting step is the slow redistribution to plasma of THC sequestered in the tissues. Shorter half-lives are generally reported due to limited collection intervals and less sensitive analytical methods. Plasma THC concentrations in occasional users rapidly fall below limits of quantitation within 8 to 12 h. 3.) Mathematical models have been developed to estimate the time of marijuana exposure within a 95% confidence interval. Knowing the elapsed time from marijuana exposure can then be used to predict impairment in concurrent cognitive and psychomotor effects based on data in the published literature. 4.) Detection of total THC metabolites in urine, primarily THC-COOH-glucuronide, only indicates prior THC exposure. Detection time is well past the window of intoxication and impairment. 5.) Following single doses of Marinol®, low levels of dronabinol metabolites have been detected for more than 5 weeks in urine. Low concentrations of THC have also been measured in over-the-counter hemp oil products – consumption of these products may produce positive urine cannabinoid test results. 6.) Effects: Pharmacological effects of marijuana vary with dose, route of administration, experience of user, vulnerability to psychoactive effects, and setting of use. Psychological: At recreational doses, effects include relaxation, euphoria, relaxed inhibitions, sense of well-being, disorientation, altered time and space perception, lack of concentration, impaired learning and memory, alterations in thought formation and expression, drowsiness, sedation, mood changes such as panic reactions and paranoia, and a more vivid sense of taste, sight, smell, and hearing. Stronger doses intensify reactions and may cause fluctuating emotions, flights of fragmentary thoughts with disturbed associations, a dulling of attention despite an illusion of heightened insight, image distortion, and psychosis. Physiological: The most frequent effects include increased heart rate, reddening of the eyes, dry mouth and throat, increased appetite, and vasodilatation. 7.) Side Effect Profile: Fatigue, paranoia, possible psychosis, memory problems, depersonalization, mood alterations, urinary retention, constipation, decreased motor coordination, lethargy, slurred speech, and dizziness. Impaired health including lung damage, behavioral changes, and reproductive, cardiovascular and immunological effects have been associated with regular marijuana use. Regular and chronic marijuana smokers may have many of the same respiratory problems that tobacco smokers have (daily cough and phlegm, symptoms of chronic bronchitis), as the amount of tar inhaled and the level of carbon monoxide absorbed by marijuana smokers is 3 to 5 times greater than among tobacco smokers. Smoking marijuana while shooting up cocaine has the potential to cause severe increases in heart rate and blood pressure. 8.) Duration of Effects: Effects from smoking cannabis products are felt within minutes and reach their peak in 10-30 minutes. Typical marijuana smokers experience a high that lasts approximately 2 hours. Most behavioral and physiological effects return to baseline levels within 3-5 hours after drug use, although some investigators have demonstrated residual effects in specific behaviors up to 24 hours, such as complex divided attention tasks. Psychomotor impairment can persist after the perceived high has dissipated. In long term users, even after periods of abstinence, selective attention (ability to filter out irrelevant information) has been shown to be adversely affected with increasing duration of use, and speed of information processing has been shown to be impaired with increasing frequency of use. Dronabinol has an onset of 30-60 minutes, peak effects occur at 2-4 hours, and it can stimulate the appetite for up to 24 hours. 9.) Tolerance, Dependence and Withdrawal Effect: Tolerance may develop to some pharmacological effects of dronabinol. Tolerance to many of the effects of marijuana may develop rapidly after only a few doses, but also disappears rapidly. Marijuana is addicting as it causes compulsive drug craving, seeking, and use, even in the face of negative health and social consequences. Additionally, animal studies suggests marijuana causes physical dependence. A withdrawal syndrome is commonly seen in chronic marijuana users following abrupt discontinuation. Symptoms include restlessness, irritability, mild agitation, hyperactivity, insomnia, nausea, cramping, decreased appetite, sweating, and increased dreaming. When taken concurrently with alcohol, marijuana is more likely to be a traffic safety risk factor than when consumed alone. 10.) Performance Effects: The short term effects of marijuana use include problems with memory and learning, distorted perception, difficultly in thinking and problem-solving, and loss of coordination. Heavy users may have increased difficulty sustaining attention, shifting attention to meet the demands of changes in the environment, and in registering, processing and using information. In general, laboratory performance studies indicate that sensory functions are not highly impaired, but perceptual functions are significantly affected. The ability to concentrate and maintain attention are decreased during marijuana use, and impairment of hand-eye coordination is dose-related over a wide range of dosages.Impairment in retention time and tracking, subjective sleepiness, distortion of time and distance, vigilance, and loss of coordination in divided attention tasks have been reported. Note however, that subjects can often “pull themselves together” to concentrate on simple tasks for brief periods of time. Significant performance impairments are usually observed for at least 1-2 hours following marijuana use, and residual effects have been reported up to 24 hours. 11.) Effects on Driving: The drug manufacturer suggests that patients receiving treatment with Marinol® should be specifically warned not to drive until it is established that they are able to tolerate the drug and perform such tasks safely. Epidemiology data from road traffic arrests and fatalities indicate that after alcohol, marijuana is the most frequently detected psychoactive substance among driving populations. Marijuana has been shown to impair performance on driving simulator tasks and on open and closed driving courses for up to approximately 3 hours. Decreased car handling performance, increased reaction times, impaired time and distance estimation, inability to maintain headway, lateral travel, subjective sleepiness, motor incoordination, and impaired sustained vigilance have all been reported. Some drivers may actually be able to improve performance for brief periods by overcompensating for self-perceived impairment. The greater the demands placed on the driver, however, the more critical the likely impairment. Marijuana may particularly impair monotonous and prolonged driving. Decision times to evaluate situations and determine appropriate responses increase. Mixing alcohol and marijuana may dramatically produce effects greater than either drug on its own. DEC Profile: Horizontal gaze nystagmus not present; vertical gaze nystagmus not present; lack of convergence present; pupil size normal to dilated; reaction to light normal to slow; pulse rate elevated; blood pressure elevated; body temperature normal to elevated. Other characteristic indicators may include odor of marijuana in car or on subject’s breath, marijuana debris in mouth, green coating of tongue, bloodshot eyes, body and eyelid tremors, relaxed inhibitions, incomplete thought process, and poor performance on field sobriety tests. Panel’s Assessment of Driving Risks: Low doses of THC moderately impair cognitive and psychomotor tasks associated with driving, while severe driving impairment is observed with high doses, chronic use and in combination with low doses of alcohol The more difficult and unpredictable the task, the more likely marijuana will impair performance. https://one.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/research/job185drugs/cannabis.htm *************************** Based on the information given above, it is my opinion that stoned drivers SHOULD be regulated like drunk drivers, because of the extent to which THC causes impairment! Personally, I think that unless you're taking medicinal marijuana under the supervision of a doctor, you're nuts to risk becoming addicted to this drug (and a lot of others, as well!). I'm going to search for more information, including statistics on the frequency of traffic violations and accidents caused by driving stoned.
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    If the government can scientifically prove that being high on marijuana while operating a vehicle poses the same risk as a drunk behind the wheel then go for it. Otherwise treat this differently and come up with a regulation that separately addresses being high while driving, because they are not the same thing.
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    There is no field test comparable to the breathalyzer for marijuana. And the ones that have been developed could test positive even hours after medicating and is no longer under the influence, creating an unjust arrest.
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    Currently, there is no way to tell if a driver is too high to safely drive. There will not be a way to know the safe amount of cannibis or to measure that amount in a driver unless legalization occurs. At that point, research will need to be done to answer the questions surrounding high driving.
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    If it can't be properly tested like BAC it should be illegal to issue DUIs based on assumptions.
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    There's just no way to correctly show that a driver has been smoking Marijuana. Whether you call it a "quota" or not doesn't change the fact that police are instructed to give out a certain number of tickets. This just gives them too much freedom to unjustly charge people with DUI. Until we develop an effective means of testing this bill needs to be voted down.
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    If you're impaired you shouldn't be driving. A fair and accurate test would have to be created, but you can't just say there's no risk or penalty for driving impaired in some way
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    Legalizing Marijuana does not diminish a citizens responsibility to the public. As with alcohol, marijuana use should be a RESPONSIBLE right of usage. Those who choose to violate that responsibility should be held accountable under the existing DUI for
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    There are methods being developed to make field sobriety tests include THC levels, much like alcohol responsibility lies in the user, there should be a legal age set for users so that they can be depended on in terms of making the right decision to drink and drive or smoke and drive.
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    Stoned drivers are careful drivers, unlike drunk drivers who think they are fine to drive, stoned drivers know they are stoned and are much more likely to drive slower and safer.
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    If you don't have a cloud of smoke on camera in the car he wasn't under the influence
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    People who smoke daily will always test positive even if you are not high at the time of driving. Plus with daily users it is different than someone who just tokes up every now and again.
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    No true way to tell. Thc is in your system for months. If a police officer stops someone who is tired but smoked last week, he would e getting in trouble.
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    Yes. They are Driving Under the Influence.
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    Yes. But the current way of detecting drunkenness in drivers can not be used to test for if someone is high. Developing, mass producing, and distributing the instruments necessary to do so may be costly.
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    Both alcohol and marijuana impart reflexes and so should be treated the same in terms of driving.
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    Without reliable testing there isn't a way to prove that a person consumed cannabis a few minutes ago or a couple weeks ago. This would give a lot of innocent people DUIs. Besides that, people build tolerances to pot so what may be an "unsafe" level of consumption for one person might not even phase the Willie Nelsons of the world.
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    Driving drunk on alcohol impairs you, driving high on marijuana does not. Some people have even been known to drive safer while high on marijuana.
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    I don't want to find out my best friend got killed by a driver under the influence of anything.
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    There is a perfect way to regulate the drivers. You have them take the substance before they drive and the examiner will decide if they are able to drive in the state while on the substance, because they will have a little cannabis logo right on the bottom of their license that will allow hem to drive while on the substance.
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