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New marijuana laws for drivers

With the legalization of marijuana becoming law in California in 2018, lawmakers are preparing to create regulations to help law enforcement and prosecutors. Part of this preparation are laws restricting the use of pot behind the wheel.

As Courthouse News Services reports, Governor Brown signed legislation into law that restricts driving while drugged and prohibiting open containers of pot in a moving vehicle. The laws were written by Assemblyman Bob Lackey, R-Palmdale, who was previously a California Highway Patrol officer before taking office. The laws are meant to make the rules clear to motorists who are soon legally able to partake of marijuana. Both Washington and Colorado ran into problems on the road when legalization occurred, and lawmakers are hoping to avoid the same growing pains.

The new laws cover a host of issues, including how to determine if a driver is currently impaired and training to help CHP officers to learn how to use a swab technology that measures how active THC is in a driver. Because THC can remain in a person's system for up to 30 days, the test, which has been used in several California counties already, uses a specific compound to determine how recently the drug entered a driver's system. A separate bill determining legal limits is still in discussions in the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

According to KHTS, marijuana will follow the same rules as alcohol when being transported in a car: a sealed container is allowed in the cabin, but anything with a broken seal will need to be carried in the trunk. 

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