Lawmaker Files Bill Creating Threshold For 'Driving Under The Influence' Of Marijuana

Sep 21, 2015

Rep. Dave Kerner
Credit Florida House

A state lawmaker is hoping to add a standard threshold to what is considered “over the limit” in cases where a person is operating a vehicle and is high on marijuana.

Under current law, you can get a DUI if your Blood Alcohol Content is over or at .08 BAC. But,  Rep. Dave Kerner (D-Lake Worth) says there is no standard for marijuana, or THC impairment.

“So what this bill seeks to do is in cases of serious bodily injury or death, if there is suspected impairment by marijuana, it would set a presumption of impairment at 5 nanograms of active THC, which must be done through blood draw,” said Kerner.

His bill, called the “Naomi Pomerance Victim Safety Act,” is named after a 16-year-old girl who was killed in a scooter crash. Kerner says the person who was driving and caused the wreck was high on marijuana.

“Now, he’s being prosecuted for DUI manslaughter, but because there’s no impairment presumption with marijuana, it’s very difficult to prove he was impaired by marijuana,” added Kerner. “So, the prosecution of the driver is very complex and very difficult.”

Kerner, a medical marijuana supporter, says there needs to be a balance between supporting the drug for medical purposes and responsible criminal laws when that substance is used inappropriately and someone’s life is taken.

Kerner’s bill also incorporates Boating Under the Influence.

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