There is a legal limit for driving under the influence of marijuana just like for alcohol. For high grade medical marijuana, a single hit could put you over the .5 nanogram limit both here and in Colorado.
RICHLAND, WA - There is a legal limit for driving under the influence of marijuana just like for alcohol. For drinking, the .08 limit is equivalent to about four drinks for a 180-pound man or just two for a 140-pound woman. For weed, it's less cut and dry.
For high grade medical marijuana, a single hit could put you over the .5 nanogram limit both here and in Colorado. But it can go down quickly, sometimes within hours. However, heavy users could consistently be over the legal limit.
Either way, police say it's dangerous and they're on the lookout.
"You're looking for signs of impairment and divided attention. Tests will test your ability to react to stimuli. We're going to see your balance, your coordination and your speech. Everything you'd look for in an alcohol intoxication DUI transitions into a drug DUI," said Captain Mike Cobb with the Richland Police Department.
A new report from WebMD claims that deadly crashes involving pot and driving have tripled in the last ten years and one in nine fatal accidents involves a driver high on marijuana.
"Your ability to respond to something in front of you: a child walking out into the street, someone who slams on their brakes in front of you, swerving, going up on sidewalks. All the behaviors you'd traditionally associate with DUI, drugs or alcohol, is going to be the same," said Cobb.
So, when police spot an impaired driver, it takes cooperation with the local hospitals to get a DUI conviction and get those drivers off the road.
"I think the bottom line, more for them and for us too, we want to make sure people are safe and our streets are safe out there and we are part of that. And where that involves Kadlec, we will cooperate with all of our partner agencies throughout the Tri-City area," said Jim Hall with Kadlec Regional Medical Center.
In Richland, of the 29 drug DUI's last year, 21 of those drivers had marijuana in their bloodstream. But just nine of them were solely pot DUI's. The others had other drugs in their systems like cocaine or prescription drugs.