Governor to Decide Fate of Bill Establishing Marijuana DUI Limits

Legislation recently passed through both chambers of the Illinois legislature which would set the state’s first impairment standard for driving under the influence of marijuana . The bill, which looks to create an easily enforceable guideline for cannabis-related DUI arrests, now awaits the signature of Governor Bruce Rauner, who has not given an indication on his intentions for the measure.

Currently in Illinois, the law provides that an individual can be arrested for DUI or aggravated DUI with any trace of marijuana in his or her system, regardless of impairment. Those who have validly registered for the state’s medical cannabis pilot program were to be offered some level of protection from the zero-tolerance principle , but the program has yet to get fully underway. The current law falls short in increasing safe driving due to the fact that traces of marijuana can be found in a person’s blood for up to several weeks after use . This means that a driver can potentially be arrested for driving under influence even though he is totally unimpaired and the marijuana in his system is from ten days ago.

The proposed law, however, would take much of the guesswork on the part of law enforcement out of the equation. It would set the legal DUI limit for THC, the impairment-producing component of marijuana, in a driver’s blood at 15 nanograms and 25 nanograms in a driver’s saliva. The submitted limits were derived by extrapolating an European blood-alcohol content (BAC) to cannabis impairment calculation to approximate the state’s BAC limit of 0.08 percent.

Critics have suggested that the 15 nanogram limit is excessive, since many states’ laws have set their guidelines between two and seven nanograms. Senator Mike Noland, D-Elgin, pointed out, however, that the proposal in Illinois was approved by lawmakers and the Illinois State’s Attorney’s Association as a compromise between the 5 nanogram limit in Colorado and the 25 nanogram limit set in Washington, both states in which the recreational use of marijuana has been legalized. He also added that, if necessary, lawmakers can revisit the limits if they prove to be too high, and that the measure creates a reasonable starting point.

If you have been charged with DUI, whether related to alcohol or drugs, contact an experienced Joliet criminal defense attorney. At the Law Office of Jack L. Zaremba, we understand the seriousness of DUI allegations and are prepared to help you minimize the impact to your life and future. Call today to schedule a free consultation.

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