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Marijuana and Driving

Many people assume that since marijuana is not alcohol, it is safe to drive under the influence of this drug. However, this supposition is far from being true. Marijuana does, in fact, have significant effects on the body's ability to respond, process information, and generally function in a reasonable manner. Because of this, drivers under the influence of cannabis are likely to be pulled over on the premise of driving drunk.

The Effects of Marijuana on the Body

Marijuana smokers will experience some temporary physical and mental side-effects of their habits. In general, their abilities to think and process information, perceive location and distances, and coordinate their bodies significantly decline. Users may also experience anxiety or panic attacks and their short-term memories may be compromised.

Studies on how marijuana affects one's driving abilities were conducted in 1994 and the results indicated that drivers under the influence of cannabis performed slightly worse than sober drivers. Only small doses of the drug were used, however, for safety reasons, so there is no scientific research on the effects of heavy marijuana doses on drivers.

The main issue that drivers under the influence of marijuana exhibited was an inability to maintain lateral position on the road. This phenomenon was likely linked to the effects cannabis has on people's abilities to perceive their surroundings, react, and coordinate or control their bodies.

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If you have been charged with DUI or if you would like to learn more about how marijuana may affect your driving, contact the Seattle DUI lawyers of Cowan Kirk Kattenhorn at 1-866-822-1230 with your questions and concerns.

Cowan Kirk Kattenhorn


Cowan Kirk Kattenhorn is known throughout Washington and the nation for representing all of its clients with commitment, creativity and compassion. We recognize how devastating a DUI charge can be, particularly when our clients learn how incredibly tough Washington's DUI laws have become, even for a first-time offender.

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If you need a DUI defense attorney in Seattle, Bellevue, or King County, contact us today to find out why respect for our clients, a passion for justice, and our commitment to winning have earned each of us the highest honor a member of the bar can receive from our colleagues – their referrals.