Over the last few years, more and more U.S. states have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use. Indiana is not one of those states. But neighbors like Illinois, Michigan and Ohio have at least partly decriminalized cannabis.
But legally buying marijuana in another state does not mean you are permitted to drive while under its influence. It is against the law in Indiana to operate a vehicle while intoxicated (OWI) by cannabis or any other drug. OWI on its own is a class C misdemeanor, but if the police believe you were driving “in a manner that endangers a person,” they could charge you with a class A misdemeanor instead. You could be sentenced to up to a year in jail for a class A misdemeanor and fined as much as $5,000. And if you get into a car accident while impaired and someone gets hurt, you could face felony charges.
Still high or not?
One issue in drugged driving cases is accurately measuring how intoxicated the driver really was. Alcohol metabolizes fairly quickly, and the law sets a strict standard of 0.08 percent blood-alcohol level for legal driving. But signs of marijuana use linger in the body hours or even days after you last ingested it. You can be perfectly sober and still appear to fail a blood test. Police forces across the country, especially in states where marijuana is legalized, are struggling to find methods and technology that accurately measures impairment by that drug and other drugs that remain against the law for use or, for prescription drugs, abuse.