A person who is legally high is still responsible for their negligent actions.
On November 8, 2016, California voters decided to legalize marijuana, with 56.2 percent voting yes on Prop 64. The recreational use of marijuana is now legal in the state, as Californians over 21 years of age can now smoke marijuana in private without fear of being arrested. They can also have up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana in their possession. Californians can also grow up to six marijuana plants at their home. Under this law, the state can now regulate and tax marijuana use and sales.
While the legalization of marijuana was cheered by many, it left others wondering how exactly this would impact their safety. Marijuana impacts a person’s decision-making ability, and can impair a person’s ability to drive, operate machinery or even make safe choices in their daily lives. Now that marijuana is legal, will marijuana DUIs and accidents increase?
The good news is that driving under the influence of any drug — including marijuana — is still illegal if a person is unable to drive with the same level of care and caution as a sober person. The legalization of marijuana has not changed this. The ability of an accident victim to hold a marijuana user responsible for their injuries in an accident also hasn’t changed. In other words, the fact that recreational marijuana use is now legal is not a defense to a personal injury lawsuit.
Consider this scenario. A person smokes marijuana in his home, and then heads out to the store to get something to eat. On the way, the person slams into another car at a stop light, causing serious whiplash and a broken arm. The driver was impaired from marijuana use, and didn’t notice that the light was red as a result. In this case, the driver might face criminal charges for driving under the influence of marijuana, as well as a lawsuit for the injuries that he caused by his negligence. Even though marijuana use is now legal, he still owes a duty of care to other people when he drives a car. His failure to act with the same level of care and caution as a reasonable person in a similar situation makes him liable for the accident.
Cases involving negligence from recreational marijuana use can happen in other ways as well. A person who is impaired from smoking marijuana may knock someone over while riding their bike, for example, or leave a rake on their front sidewalk, leading to injuries. However the accident occurs, if the person was negligent, he or she will be held responsible for their victim’s losses — even if they were legally high.
If you have been hurt in any type of accident, including one caused by a person who was impaired by the use of marijuana, you will need an aggressive personal injury attorney to fight for you. At the Law Offices of Larry H. Parker, we are prepared to handle all types of personal injury cases, including dog bites, car accidents, premises liability, and dangerous products cases. Contact our office today at 800-333-0000 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free initial consultation. We never charge a fee unless we recover money for you!