Hawaii officials have introduced a resolution asking the state Health Department to conduct a study to determine how much marijuana a driver can safely consume before operating a motor vehicle, the Associated Press reports.
The resolution comes as the state begins setting up its revamped medical marijuana infrastructure.
“I think that it’s really important that we do this now,” Rep. Cindy Evans (D), one of 15 resolution signees, said. “Hopefully this is the beginning of the discussion.”
If conducted, the study could lead to laws specifying how much THC in the blood stream is acceptable while driving. Laws in Colorado, Montana and Washington set that limit at 5 nanograms per millimeter of blood, while in Nevada and Ohio the limit is 2 nanograms. Exemptions for medical marijuana patients are provided by some states.
The National Institute of Drug Abuse says marijuana is the illegal drug most often found in the blood of drivers in accidents, but it’s unclear how often it plays a role in those accidents because of how long marijuana remains in a person’s system. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration warns that marijuana impairs driving related skills and cognitive functions.
Virginia Pressler, director of the Health Department, said that the National Institute of Drug Abuse has not been able to establish a benchmark despite many years of reviewing the issue and, especially because the resolution doesn’t include funding, her department doesn’t have the capacity to undertake such a study.
The House Committee on Transportation passed the measure on Mar. 28. It moves to the Committee on Health.
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