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Legalization of Marijuana and Effects On and Off the Road in Massachusetts

Today we will zoom in on legalization in one state - Massachusetts - in order to get a broader view of the effects from legalization in the US.

For one, according to the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, “statewide OUI drug violations have decreased about 20%.” OUI refers to operating under the influence and is a more general term than DUI. However, in western Massachusetts, the number of violations has “increased nearly 4% over the same time period, reporting 295 violations in 2019, 379 in 2020, and 306 in 2021.”

In general, there is simply “a lot more marijuana, tremendously more marijuana;” “[y]ou just drive down the street and you can smell it. You walk by people, you can smell it.” This increase in marijauna use has led the OUI drug arrests to double following legalization. Yet, “OUI alcohol only went up about 20%.”

However, as we have already discussed in many previous articles, making an arrest for driving under the influence is more difficult when it comes to determining a specific substance like marijuana,” which is a challenge for law enforcement. As Chief Valadas explains, “[y]ou do not have a roadside physical exam, you don’t have an exam that you can get afterwards like blood alcohol concentration.”

Chief Valadas concludes by hoping that “someday, there will be tests out there,” he said. “It will be whether or not, at what point in time, does something like that become accepted, not only by the legislature, but in Massachusetts courts.”

Luckily, Otorize is one of those solutions. Otorize offers testing for any kind of impairment - not just alcohol and not just marijuana. Drivers can test themselves to make sure they are not impaired and keep the roads safe. Try Otorize to keep yourself and others safe from impaired driving.



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