Drivers in Hawaii who operate under the influence of marijuana pose a threat to themselves and other drivers on the road. Although marijuana use is legal for medical purposes, users still need to smoke responsibly and take care to refrain from operating a motor vehicle until the effects have passed through their system.
According to the Hawaii Department of Health, the medical marijuana program became law in 2000. A 329 Registration Card is issued to patients who have been certified by a physician that their medical condition is one that benefits from the use of medical marijuana. A dispensary program was created in 2015 to make it easier for these patients to gain access to medicinal products.
Although medical marijuana can provide great relief for those with certain medical conditions, it can also cause havoc on the road if the users decide to get behind the wheel. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, driving under its influence is considered to be drugged driving, which is also the name for DUI of prescription medication and illegal drugs such as heroin. Some of the negative effects marijuana can have on drivers include:
- Impaired judgment of distance and time
- Slowed reaction time
- Decreased coordination
All of these can lead to altered and decreased attention of the road and increased lane weaving. Mixing marijuana use with alcohol intensifies these effects, which may lead to serious accidents involving injury and even death. In fact, some preliminary studies show those with THC levels in their blood are twice as likely to be killed or cause a fatal accident compared to drivers not under the influence.