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CHP warns the public about driving while high on Marijuana

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REDDING, Calif. - California is just days away from the legalization of recreational cannabis. With the changes, CHP is preparing to handle drivers under the influence of marijuana.

Some say they drive better while high on Marijuana, they say it helps them focus. The law says otherwise.

"When you start putting people under the influence all that, reaction time is very much diminished," said Jason Morton with Redding CHP. "So for us, for a normal person, three quarters of a second might be a second [to someone impaired] and that little bit of time might be life or death or some serious injuries out of a crash."

CHP wants to remind people, just like driving drunk, driving while high on marijuana can land you in jail. If you are pulled over and an officer suspects you are high, a Drug Recognition Expert, or DRE, will be called in.

"DRE will come out, they'll take your pulse, they'll check your pupil size, and all that stuff whether it's diminished or normal," said Morton. "Also, we put you through our field sobriety test."

On top of that, you will be given a blood test that same day. A combination of the blood test and the DRE report will give your results.

That's one difference between alcohol and cannabis, there is currently no test like the "Blood Alcohol Content" test when it comes to THC. THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

A huge difference between THC content and alcohol content is inconsistent labeling.

"THC contents in every strain of marijuana and cannabis is different," Morton said. "It ranges from mid-15,16 percent all the way up to 23, 24 percent and you might have a really high strain of THC in that one type that you tried that day and maybe next week you try the same type and that THC content might be lower or higher. So, you never know. It's a plant. It's not like alcohol where they tell you one beer might be .02 every time."         

In 2018, just like alcohol you can not smoke pot while driving. If you are pulled over and have marijuana with you, it must be in a sealed container or in the trunk and must be less than 28 and a half grams which is about an ounce. You must also be 21 years or older to have it in your possession. 

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