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Consequences of driving while high in New Jersey

New Jersey residents may know that cannabis laws in the Garden State are among the highest in the nation. That being said, many of those who enjoy marijuana continue to drive after smoking or having pot-laced edibles. It is important to understand the potential penalties of driving with marijuana in one’s system, as well as how THC – the chemical in marijuana that causes a high – affects driving.

According to NORML, being under the influence of cannabis – whether driving or not – is a misdemeanor in New Jersey. The following penalties may apply:

  • Imprisonment of up to six months and a fine of up to $2,000
  • Community service
  • Loss of driver’s license for a minimum of six months
  • Automatic driver’s license suspension for two years if driving under the influence of marijuana
  • Public housing residency revocation

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain that like drinking and driving, being under the influence of marijuana can negatively impact driving. THC affects drivers’ reaction time, coordination, judgment, problem-solving abilities, perception and other factors that are crucial when behind the wheel.

Determining a DUI involving cannabis may significantly differ from determining alcohol-related charges. This is because there is no definitive test for the amount of THC in one’s bloodstream that is actively affecting driving. The THC chemical can stay in a person’s system for several days or weeks after a person uses marijuana, long after the high has worn off. After a marijuana-related arrest, it is important to seek counsel from an experienced defense attorney to protect one’s rights.

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