Concern for effects of medical marijuana on drivers

Published 01/22 2014 12:23PM

Updated 01/22 2014 12:26PM

ILLINOIS -- At least one sheriff is concerned the new medical marijuana law may mean problems out on the road. Wednesday, the state released a draft of rules for medical marijuana. Now, people around the state will get a chance to weigh in. WCIA-3's keeps us Connected to the Capitol.

The rules aren't final. A committee of lawmakers has the final say, but the Department of Public Health wanted to get the rules out in advance, so people have a chance to comment on them.

Here are the big ones: Patients who want to take part in the program will have to be fingerprinted; they'll have to undergo a background check; and pay $150 fee each year.

Christian County Sheriff Bruce Kettelkamp is concerned about one part of the new law. He's worried how his officers can determine if someone is driving under the influence of pot.

The law does allow officers to put patients through a standard field sobriety test if they suspect they are driving under the influence, but there's no direct way to determine if they've been smoking marijuana without a blood test.

Patients should be able to start registering for the medical marijuana program later this year. The first permits should be issued next year.

Recreational marijuana just became law of the land in Colorado but there's a limit for how much you can have when you get behind the wheel. The limit is five nano-grams of THC per milliliter of blood. THC is the active ingredient in marijuana.

The same law applies in Washington State, the only other state with legalized marijuana. To determine this though, police have to do a blood test which only happens when the driver is arrested.

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