One of the most common drug offenses in Nevada involves possession or consumption of marijuana. After an arrest for driving under the influence, the arresting officer may request a blood test if marijuana consumption is suspected in the driver’s impairment. Marijuana metabolites remain in the bloodstream for much longer than other drugs; they are the remnants of drugs in the body after it has gone through the process of breaking the drugs down.
Nevada enacted a per se law — in DUI or DWI cases, such laws generally establish that once an individual is shown to have a blood concentration level at or above a certain percent, that person will be considered intoxicated by law — for those arrested for DUI with marijuana or marijuana metabolites in their system. The state’s DUI laws currently prohibit a driver from operating a motor vehicle with any detectable level of marijuana or a marijuana metabolite present in the blood above a threshold level. Typically, expert testimony is used to determine whether the presence of cannabis metabolites impaired the driver at the time of the DUI arrest. Once the prosecution has established that there were marijuana metabolites in a person’s system above the legal limit, it is enough to convict.
Recently, the Assembly Judiciary Committee was told in testimony that the law saying drivers are guilty of a DUI because they have a measurable level of THC in their blood should be repealed. Experts now believe there is no relationship between the THC in someone’s blood and impairment. The same experts say the existing standard is not evidence-based, and prefer to rely on field impairment tests instead of an absolute blood test standard. This is especially pertinent to medical marijuana users who would likely always test above the state’s blood THC maximum.
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