Indiana Changed the Law Regarding Marijuana and DUI in 2021
The law regarding marijuana use and Driving While Intoxicated has just changed in the state of Indiana and this could be good news for some Hoosiers.
Prior to the new law (in effect July 1, 2021) if you were involved in an accident where you were not at fault, but you tested positive for marijuana, you could face felony charges - even if it had been days since you had used marijuana.
It is Indiana law that drivers involved in a serious accident are required to submit to a blood test. Prior to July first, Indiana had a "zero-tolerance per se law" regarding THC. If a driver was found to have any amount of THC or THC metabolites, no matter how small that amount may have been, they could be charged with a misdemeanor of driving under the influence - even if they were exhibiting no signs of impairment. The charges could be even more serious if there was bodily injury or death, even if they were not at fault in the accident.
According to NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said regarding the previous law in the State of Indiana:
...it is a violation of the traffic safety code to operate a motor vehicle with any detectable level of either THC or THC metabolites in one’s blood or urine, absent any further evidence of psychomotor impairment. Because both THC and the carboxy-THC metabolite may be present for several days, if not longer, following cannabis exposure, this law could result in the inadvertent prosecution of medical cannabis patients who have consumed cannabis lawfully in private days or even weeks earlier.
On February 23rd, Indiana Senate Bill 201 passed the Senate and moved to the House. On March 24th that same bill passed the House and was sent to Indiana Governor Holcomb who then signed it on April 15th. SB 201 went into effect on July 1, 2021, and modifies the state's "zero tolerance per se law" providing a defense for drivers who may have THC or THC metabolites in their system if the person is not at fault for the accident and they are not impaired. Basically, if a driver is not intoxicated and did not cause the accident, the driver did not commit a crime.
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