Adults in Alaska are now legally able to enjoy marijuana recreationally. However, the effects of the drug negatively impact one’s ability to safely operate a motorized vehicle, and if a law enforcement officer suspects someone of driving while under the influence of marijuana, the driver can get a DUI.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, marijuana is the second most common cause of drugged driving, with alcohol being the first. The cause of impairment comes from THC, which negatively affects the brain’s ability to properly control judgment, movement, coordination and balance. Some of the specific effects smoking or consuming marijuana has on driving include:
- Distorted perception
- Reduced reaction time
- Lack of decision-making and problem-solving abilities
- Impaired coordination
When someone drinks alcohol in conjunction with marijuana, the negative effects are even greater.
According to the State of Alaska, one can get a DUI while under the influence of marijuana not only when driving a vehicle, but also motorcycles, ATVs, snow machines, scooters, planes and boats. Unlike for alcohol, there is currently no stated legal limit for the amount of marijuana one can have before it becomes a DUI. However, its effects vary from person to person, and law enforcement has drug recognition experts who are able to detect drug impairment.
Users should be aware that edibles may take longer to take effect, but the effects last longer than smoking. It is hard to know how long the impairments wear off after taking marijuana in any form, so the best practice is to not drive after having any amount of marijuana.