Washington Marijuana DUIs Are Different Than Alcohol DUIs
Getting stopped and arrested for a Washington marijuana DUI initially looks and feels very similar to an alcohol-related DUI, but they are very different.
Often they start the same way; bad driving being observed by a law enforcement officer, getting stopped, the officer smelling the odor of intoxicants coming from the car, questions about the use of marijuana, field sobriety tests, and an arrest.
From there, the processes Washington Marijuana DUIs and alcohol DUIs diverge a bit. In order to test you for marijuana, law enforcement needs to get a warrant to draw your blood. This is done via fax and phone and can be done at any hour of the day in almost any location. Once the officer has the warrant, they will take you to a hospital to have your blood drawn. They usually draw 2 vials of blood and these will be sent to Washington State Toxicology Lab for later testing. The testing often happens several months after the arrest.
Similar to .08 limit for alcohol, Washington has a a legal limit for marijuana dui. That limit is 5 nanograms of marijuana per milliliter of blood. If , after testing your blood, you are above this limit, then you can be convicted of a Washington Marijuana DUI, regardless if you are high at the time of driving.
Unlike the alcohol limit, the marijuana limit has no basis in science. There is no correlation between the level of marijuana in your blood and impairment. Unlike alcohol, marijuana doesn’t exit your body at set rate. Instead, THC, the ingredient that makes you high, is stored in your fat and released slowly over days and weeks. So while the high wears off quickly, the THC lingers in your body. For those that user marijuana frequently, they will always be above 5 ng/ml limit.