Since the opening of Massachusetts’ first recreational marijuana stores in November of last year, laws surrounding marijuana have continued to evolve. As laws change, it is important for the public to stay informed about new laws to ensure that they are in compliance with all regulations.
Though it is currently illegal to drive in Massachusetts with an open container of alcohol, it is not illegal to drive with an open package containing marijuana. According to MassLive.com, a drunk driving commission recently recommended fining drivers $500 for driving with an open container of marijuana.
The commission made their recommendation despite lacking a shared agreement on what constitutes an open container. Jennifer Queally, the undersecretary for law enforcement, said, “We’ve all seen people smoking a joint at the red light next to us, and clearly that’s an open container, but … what about the edibles, what about some of the oils?” If marijuana is subjected to open container laws, this will be an important question to answer moving forward.
Another concern for the new world of recreational marijuana is how to recognize and test for marijuana impairment in drivers. Unlike alcohol, marijuana does not show up on a breathalyzer, and the signs of marijuana impairment are often different from those officers are familiar with. Currently, saliva tests are not admissible in court because they are not reliable indicators of when marijuana was used. Blood tests are more reliable, but, as of now, they require a warrant from the police station, a time-consuming effort which can allow enough time for the THC levels in the subject’s blood to decrease substantially by the time the test is administered.
If you are facing OUI or DUI charges involving marijuana, knowledgeable legal counsel can help you determine the best course of action for your case. Thomas Whitney Attorney at Law has been providing Massachusetts with criminal defense services for more than 40 years. Attorney Whitney gives his clients the best representation possible with well-informed, aggressive defense strategies that ensure their rights are protected. Call (413) 256-6234 today to set up an appointment and protect your future.