Illinois DUI and Marijuana, THC:
Like much of the country, Illinois’ laws regarding the use of marijuana, both for medical as well as recreational purposes, have been shifting. The use of medical marijuana is legal in Illinois. Furthermore, the possession of small amounts of the drug is now considered a civil offense rather than a criminal one.
Until recently, Illinois had a zero-tolerance approach to driving under the influence of marijuana. But as of July 29th, 2016, this law has changed to create a legal limit for the amount of THC a person may have in their blood while operating a motor vehicle.
What is the legal limit for THC?
The new law operates similarly to DUI’s for alcohol. Most people are familiar with the legal driving limit for a person’s blood alcohol level, which is .08%. A driver over 21 with a blood alcohol level below the legal limit will not typically be guilty of driving under the influence. However, marijuana, the level set is 5 nanograms of THC per ml of whole blood. If other bodily fluids, such as saliva are tested, the limit is 10 nanograms.
How much THC is 5 ng?
The new law is not without its critics. This is in part because THC levels do not seem to be as clear of an indicator of intoxication as blood alcohol levels are. Whereas, many studies have shown a strong link to the .08% blood alcohol level and impaired driving abilities. The same does not seem to be true of THC, which does not pass through the body in the same way as alcohol. As a result, it is extremely difficult to determine when a person might be over the legal limit. While the amended law’s way of handling marijuana–related DUI’s has flaws, Whereas it is unarguably a more lenient stance than the previous zero-tolerance law, which made it possible to convict a person of a DUI weeks after the person used the drug based on the findings of trace amounts of THC in their system.
I use marijuana for medicinal purposes, can I get a DUI?
You can be convicted of a DUI for driving while you are under the influence of medical marijuana. Being allowed to use medical marijuana does not authorize you to drive while you are under the influence of the drug. Furthermore, this is true of other prescription medications as well.
Getting a DUI, whether it is for alcohol, marijuana, or other substances, can seriously impact your life.