Marijuana Use And Minnesota Drivers

Marijuana Use And Minnesota Drivers

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence [1]  confirms that marijuana use leads to impaired drivers:

“Since marijuana is the second most commonly used drug associated with drinking and drugged driving after alcohol, it is important to understand why it is particularly dangerous.  THC, the high producing element in marijuana, affects areas of the brain that control body movements, balance, coordination, memory, and judgment.  Evidence from both real and simulated driving studies indicate that marijuana negatively affects a driver’s attentiveness, the perception of time and speed, and ability to draw on information obtained from past experiences.

Research also shows that impairment increases significantly when marijuana use is combined with alcohol. Studies have found that many drivers test positive for alcohol and THC, making it clear that drinking and drugged driving are often linked behaviors.”

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have laws that specifically target drugged drivers. Almost one-third of states have adopted the per se standard that forbids any presence of a prohibited substance or drug in the driver’s body while in control of the vehicle, without any other evidence of impairment. Others have established specific limits for the presence of intoxicating drugs while still others follow a zero tolerance rule with regards to the presence of intoxicating drugs in a person’s system.

In the state of Minnesota, Section 169A.20[2] of the statutes speaks to drugged driving and provides that it is illegal to drive a vehicle while under the influence of marijuana, other drugs, alcohol, or a combination of substances. The law specifically provides:

Driving while impaired crime; motor vehicle. It is a crime for any person to drive, operate, or be in physical control of any motor vehicle, as defined in section 169A.03, subdivision 15, except for motorboats in operation and off-road recreational vehicles, within this state or on any boundary water of this state when:

(1) the person is under the influence of alcohol;

(2) the person is under the influence of a controlled substance;

(3) the person is knowingly under the influence of a hazardous substance that affects the nervous system, brain, or muscles of the person so as to substantially impair the person’s ability to drive or operate the motor vehicle;

(4) the person is under the influence of a combination of any two or more of the elements named in clauses (1) to (3)…”

Minnesota Vehicle Accident Lawyers

Although Minnesota allows the use of medical marijuana in limited circumstances, it remains illegal for a Minnesota resident to consume marijuana and to drive.  Additionally, there are safety concerns when an individual attempts to drive while under the influence of marijuana when their attentiveness, balance, and coordination are all affected.  If you are involved in a vehicle accident where the other driver was under the influence of marijuana or other drugs or alcohol, you can best protect your rights and obtain all of the compensation that is due to you, by speaking to a Minnesota automobile accident attorney.  At McEwen & Kestner, our skilled Minnesota accident attorneys investigate your case and obtain all of the compensation you are owed for your losses. Please call our office at 800-732-3070 today or send an email to