Recreational marijuana use is now legal in Nevada; but ‘drive high, get a DUI’

Composite image, St. George News

LAS VEGAS — “Drive high, get a DUI” is the message the Nevada Highway Patrol and Nevada Office of Traffic Safety want motorists to remember as the use of recreational marijuana becomes legal Jan. 1 in Nevada.

Though recreational use will become legal, the use of marijuana prior to or in the act of driving continues to be illegal and considered a serious crime.

“We care about your use of marijuana once you get behind the wheel and drive,” NHP trooper Jason Buratczuk said. “Those using marijuana cannot judge their own level of impairment and need to understand that any amount of consumption puts individuals at a greater risk of an impaired crash, injury and even death when behind the wheel.”

As driving high has always been illegal, Nevada law enforcement officers are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms of driving under the influence of marijuana.

If an individual is stopped on suspicion of a DUI, the officer will conduct field sobriety tests on the driver. The officer will make a determination based on driving behavior, performance on field sobriety tests and overall observations of the driver.

If the officer determines that the driver is under the influence of marijuana or other intoxicating substance, the driver will be required to submit to a blood test.

Nevada law – NRS 484C.110 – specifies that drivers with two nanograms of active THC implies DUI. However, no matter the level of THC, law enforcement officers will base arrests on observed impairment.

“Just like alcohol, if your plans involve marijuana, make sure you plan a safe and sober ride home,” Buratczuk said. “Never risk your life or the lives of others by driving impaired.”

Currently, Nevada law does not differentiate penalties for marijuana impaired driving from alcohol impaired driving. The penalties are the same regardless of the substance or combination of substances. However, when combining substances, there is a greater degree of impairment. This significantly increases the chances of crashes, injuries, penalties and charges.

In 2016, Nevadan voters approved Question 2, legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Question 2 passed with 54.5 percent support. Starting Jan. 1, 2017, the recreational use of one ounce or less of marijuana by adults 21 and over is legal in the state of Nevada. Medical marijuana was legalized in Nevada in 2000.

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  • paul January 1, 2017 at 7:16 pm

    Way to go Nevada. Real rocket scientist ,,why would you allow that,, that’s just what you needed .Good luck

    • .... January 1, 2017 at 11:10 pm

      deal with it cry baby it’s happening all across the country.

  • JOSH DALTON January 2, 2017 at 8:50 am

    Drive high and get a DUI….How are they going to prove you are high? I guess they are going to pull the old green tongue trick on motorist. I really hope they don’t start taking a bunch of people to jail for this. Driving while intoxicated with any substance is bad-I’m talking to those of you who take prescription dugs! GO FALCONS!

  • Rainbow Dash January 3, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    First I’m glad Nevada voters were able to FINALLY separated the truth from the fear mongering rhetoric and legalized marijuana for recreational use.

    Secondly, the picture used is CALIFORNIA Highway Patrol. NHP cars are Navy Blue and the officers’ unforms are either blue or black. Metro cops wear the brown.

    • Joyce Kuzmanic January 4, 2017 at 11:17 am

      Oh Rainbow, you are pretty much right, you know your agencies. That image in our file photos was supplied to us by NHP as an image relating to a collaborative enforcement effort over Memorial Day including NHP, Las Vegas Metro and CHP. Not the best file image to use for this story for sure. We will substitute a new one in shortly. Thank you thank you.

      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor in Chief

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