For many years, prevention and awareness efforts in the United States have focused on curbing drunk driving and the devastating traffic accidents that can result. In recent years, however, attention is turning to a different type of impaired driving – driving under the influence of marijuana. Many opponents of marijuana legalization cited concerns about an increase in stoned drivers. Advocates for legalization insist that stoned drivers will be on the roads whether they obtain weed legally or illegally.
The reality is that there is always the chance you may get injured by a stoned driver, just as people have in the past for decades. If you do, you should immediately contact a Tulsa personal injury lawyer who can begin protecting your rights.
In 2018, Oklahoma voters legalized medical marijuana, and the state quickly implemented its new medical marijuana program. Individuals with certain medical conditions and authority from a physician can obtain a medical marijuana card that permits them to possess certain amounts of marijuana, either grown or purchased from regulated businesses.
Since its inception, the program has grown quickly and is one of the most substantial in the United States, including:
This means that about two percent of the population can legally possess and use marijuana to treat medical conditions. The law does NOT permit them to drive while under the influence, however.
While Oklahoma has not legalized marijuana for recreational use, ten states plus the District of Columbia have. This means that there are dispensaries operating throughout these states, and anyone aged 21 or older can simply walk in and purchase marijuana products. People can possess and use marijuana recreationally in these states, including transporting it throughout the state.
So, what is stopping people in Tulsa from traveling to neighboring state Colorado and purchasing marijuana easily, then returning home to Tulsa? While law enforcement officers are trying to enforce Oklahoma law and prevent marijuana from entering the state, it is impossible to catch everyone who does this. Therefore, it has become quite easy for many people to have marijuana in Oklahoma.
This is especially true for interstate commercial truck drivers. These drivers travel through many states in a single trip, and they may cross numerous states that have legal weed. Little to nothing is stopping truck drivers from purchasing marijuana, putting it in the cab of their truck, and using the drug when they get bored on the road later in the day. If that driver is passing through Oklahoma at the time, they can cause severe crashes and injuries to innocent motorists.
Whether or not the driver purchased marijuana legally or illegally does not matter, however, as driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs is strictly against the law in all 50 states. This is because any drug – including marijuana – can seriously impair a person’s driving ability.
A stoned driver may experience some or all of the following impairments:
These impairments can cause a stoned driver to crash into another vehicle, a motorcyclist, a bicyclist, or a pedestrian. Even if the stoned driver is involved in a single-car crash, such as a rollover, any passengers in the vehicle may sustain injuries.
Anyone who suffers injuries and losses due to a stoned driver has the right to seek compensation from that driver. After a crash, always call 911. If the police arrive and believe a driver might be stoned, they can arrest the driver, who may face charges of DUI. If the driver is convicted of DUI, it can help prove your claim. You also always want to seek the assistance of an experienced personal injury attorney in Tulsa as soon as possible.
At Wandres Law, PC, we help clients recover after all kinds of car accidents, including those caused by impaired drivers. Call (918) 641-4044 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation and learn about your rights today.