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A Timeline of Wash. State's Changing Drugged Driving Laws

AP98734040139.jpg
Associated Press

Before December, 2012: 

It's a crime to drive under the influence of marijuana if the intoxicant impairs your driving "to an appreciable degree." Prosecutors can use blood analysis, along with other evidence, to prove a person is impaired. But even though marijuana itself is illegal, there's no agreement on what level of THC in the blood constitutes a crime. 

As of December, 2012: 

With the passage of I 502, Washington establishes a "per se" limit for THC in the blood, meaning anyone with more than 5 nanograms of active THC per milliliter of blood is automatically considered guilty of DUI. Drivers are assumed to have given permission for police to have blood drawn, under the state's implied consent law. If you refuse, that refusal can be used against you in court. 

April, 2013:

The U.S. Supreme Court decides, in Missouri v. McNeely, that police must get a search warrant in most cases in order to take blood evidence without explicit consent. 

July 2013:

The Washington legislature amends the implied consent law to exclude blood. Law enforcement begins taking blood samples only with a warrant from a judge. 

September 2013:

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission posted this informational video dramatizing the process of getting a warrant for a blood draw, emphasizing the time it takes to do so. For most people, the body metabolizes THC relatively quickly, meaning any delay in obtaining the sample could greatly reduce the concentration of the drug found. 

http://youtu.be/Up1D7MdLudo

Gabriel Spitzer is the Host and Senior Producer of Sound Effect, KNKX's "weekly tour of ideas inspired by the place we live." Gabriel was previously KNKX's Science and Health Reporter. He joined KNKX after years covering science, health and the environment at WBEZ in Chicago. There, he created the award-winning mini-show, Clever Apes. Having also lived in Alaska and California, Gabriel feels he’s been closing in on Seattle for some time, and has finally landed on the bullseye.
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