NHP Trooper Hannah DeGoey during a ride along on Feb. 14, 2020. (David Calvert/The Nevada Independent)
Michelle Rindels, The Nevada Independent
Legislators are looking to update Nevada laws that could lead to people being convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana even if they were stopped by police long after they last consumed.
Assemblyman Steve Yeager (D-Las Vegas) on Monday presented AB400, which would remove from the law specific “per se” limits for cannabis metabolites that can be in a person’s blood to trigger a DUI. Proponents of the bill say such thresholds are a poor reflection of how impaired a person is because of how cannabis is metabolized by the body differently than alcohol, and argue they were set at a time when no amount of marijuana was acceptable.
“These limits have nothing to do with either science accurately determining impairment or promoting public safety,” Paul Armentano, the deputy director of marijuana legalization advocacy group NORML, told members of the Assembly Judiciary Committee. “These arbitrary limits were enacted at a time when Nevada imposed blanket prohibition on the possession and use of cannabis for any purpose. This is not the case any longer. Hasn’t been for some time.”
While alcohol can be completely eliminated from the body in a matter of hours, THC — the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana — remains detectable for days after a person last consumes, even if the person is no longer high.
Armentano, who was co-presenter with Yeager, said he believes the thresholds came about because they were the “lowest levels of quantification” at the time the law was enacted — in other words,