New Jersey, like many states, allows marijuana use for some medical reasons. The practice is strictly controlled. While social attitudes regarding marijuana seem to be relaxing, state laws are in flux and marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

A major concern regarding marijuana and many other drugs is the level of possible impairment that can result from their use, as we noted in a previous post. It doesn’t matter if you are taking something that’s legal or not. If authorities pull you over, suspect you of driving drugged and charge you, the consequences can be dire. It’s critical to explore all your legal options to protect your rights.

It doesn’t help that the social and medical science research on issues related to marijuana doesn’t offer a great deal of data from which experts can draw solid conclusions. For example, a number of studies into the possible connection between crime and legalizing marijuana are somewhat inconclusive.

On one hand, some research has found that instances of illegal marijuana use generally increase with the legalization of medical marijuana. However, some studies have found a reduction in overall crime after the legalization of medical marijuana. The researchers are quick to say they aren’t saying there’s a causal relationship – only that there appears to be a relationship of some kind.

And so it may be when it comes to driving. One study noted that while driving with a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit of 0.08 percent is associated a four- to 27-fold increase in motor accident risk, the increased risk of accidents in cases associated with marijuana use is only about two-fold.

Another issue centers on the question of testing methods for drug impairment. As many experts will agree, they tend to leave a lot to be desired. We’ll talk more about that in our next post.