Zero Tolerance Per Se Marijuana Laws
Zero Tolerance Per Se Marijuana Law
Ohio adopted a “Zero Tolerance Per Se Marijuana Law.” It is the harshest and least effective method of enforcement. To demonstrate how Ohio approached DUIM (driving under the influence of marijuana) let’s look at how other states have approached the issue.
Current laws in the United States prohibiting driving under the influence of marijuana fall into one of three categories.
Many states prohibit driving under the influence of marijuana (or any drug) to the degree that one cannot safely operate a vehicle, or some other effect-based language. This is the approach used by the vast majority of states. Coincidentally, it makes the most sense.
Per Se Laws
Next are the per se states. These states prohibit driving with detectable levels of cannabinoids or their metabolites in the driver’s blood or urine, above a threshold amount set by statute. Like the .08 blood alcohol content (BAC) or breath alcohol content (BrAC), the actual impairment of the driver is not relevant.
Ohio: Zero Tolerance Per Se Marijuana Law
The third category is the zero tolerance per se marijuana laws. In these states, like Ohio, it is illegal to drive with any detectable amount of cannabinoids or their metabolites in the blood or urine. A disturbing number of states have adopted such laws. This, despite the fact that the National Transportation Safety Board has stated there exists no evidence that zero tolerance laws reduce impaired driving. Whether a driver is actually impaired is largely irrelevant in the states that have adopted per se legislation.
It is a valid defense if a person obtained the controlled substance pursuant to a prescription. The prescription must be issued by a licensed health professional authorized to prescribe drugs. You must inject, ingest, or inhale the controlled substance in accordance with the health professional’s directions. Id. § 4511.19(K)(1)-(2). NOTE: A doctor’s recommendation to use cannabis is NOT a prescription.