New Jersey’s outgoing Governor Chris Christie was not a supporter of marijuana legalization, but observers believe that the new incoming administration will be more amenable to the prospect. State Senator Nicholas Scutari has already introduced legislation to bring legal recreational marijuana to New Jersey.
Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman would like to emphasize to all of its New York and New Jersey clients that regardless of your position on the merits of marijuana legalization, when you are on the road you are obligated to drive responsibly and to maintain the safest possible driving conditions for you, your passengers, and your fellow motorists. KGG partner, Paul Goldhamer, sums our message up succinctly: “Don’t drink or smoke and drive!”
What can we expect if New Jersey does join the growing list of states that allow recreational marijuana use? Here are three issues to keep in mind regarding marijuana and driving:
Marijuana Legalization and Automobile Accidents
As New Jersey, New York, and other states consider marijuana legalization, all residents of those states should remain aware of at least three issues.
- Car collision rates have increased by about 3% in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and other states that have made recreational marijuana legal. On the plus side, none of those states have experienced increases in car accidents that result in fatalities.
- New Jersey has previously prosecuted drivers that are under the influence of marijuana as “Driving While Impaired”. With alcohol, the State presumes that a driver is intoxicated when his or her blood alcohol level is 0.08 or higher. The State has no analogous objective standard for marijuana intoxication, and relies instead on the subjective judgment of the arresting officer. A few other states have adopted a measure of 5 nanograms of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) per milliliter of blood as a standard for impairment. That standard, however, does not account for body mass, and a larger or heavier person will be less likely to experience impairment at that level than a smaller person.
- With marijuana legalization pending, the State is likely to follow the example of other states that have stepped up enforcement of impaired driving violations. New Jersey might follow this pattern as a preemptive measure to impress upon drivers the importance of staying off the roads if they are using recreational marijuana.
Contact Our NJ Auto Accident Lawyers If You Are Injured in an Accident With an Impaired Driver
Many experts believe that marijuana legalization will not increase marijuana usage as much as it will lead to an increase in “legal marijuana usage”. Marijuana use statistics are difficult to verify when the substance remains illegal. An increase in legal marijuana use, however, may correlate with an increase in auto accidents.
If you suffer property damage or injuries in an accident with an impaired driver in Bergen County or Rockland County, or elsewhere in New York or New Jersey, contact the auto accident lawyers at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman for a complimentary assessment of your case. We urge everyone to heed Paul Goldhamer’s admonition, “don’t smoke or drink and drive”. If a driver has failed to pay attention to that advice, we will fight to recover the compensation you deserve, and you will pay nothing unless we recover damages for you.
Additional “NJ Marijuana Legalization” Resources:
- NJ.com: NJ’s Move to Legalize Marijuana Has Begun. Here’s What You Need to Know about it. http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/06/njs_road_to_legal_marijuana_begins_here.html
- Washingtonpost.com: What Marijuana Legalization Did to Car Accident Rates. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/06/26/what-marijuana-legalization-did-to-car-accident-rates/?utm_term=.d152fb14300d