Jacob Sullum on Why 'You Can Never Drive'

Washington's new standard for drugged driving puts patients in peril.


Bella Lago / Flickr

Washington's five-nanogram rule, modeled after the per se standard for alcohol, was meant to reassure voters worried about the threat posed by stoned drivers. But like all per se standards, it treats some people as unsafe to drive even when they're not, writes Jacob Sullum. Last year experiments by KIRO, the CBS station in Seattle, and KDVR, the Fox affiliate in Denver, showed that regular cannabis consumers can perform competently on driving courses and simulators at THC levels far above five nanograms.

The lack of correspondence between the new standard and impairment is especially unfair to medical marijuana users, some of whom may be above the five-nanogram limit all the time, meaning they are never legally allowed to drive in Washington.