Maui News

Drug, Marijuana Impaired Driving Enforcement Campaign, April 20

April 16, 2018, 2:49 PM HST
* Updated April 16, 2:51 PM
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The Maui Police Department’s Traffic Section will be conducting enhanced drug impaired driving enforcement on Friday, April 20, 2018, to raise awareness of the dangers of marijuana impaired driving.

Police officials say the mission of the campaign it to also raise awareness of the laws pertaining to drug impaired driving and gain voluntary compliance of all traffic laws in a continued effort to make the roads of Maui County safe.

Officials say that in recent years, the use of medical marijuana has become increasingly accepted across the United States including Hawai‘i, and that it’s has had an impact on the number of people who consume marijuana on a regular basis. “While we respect the laws allowing the use of medical marijuana, there are still serious concerns regarding marijuana impaired driving,” the department stated.

Marijuana impaired drivers, including individuals driving under the influence of medicinal marijuana, commit the offense of Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant. Officials say that when medication or a drug that is legally prescribed impairs the ability to operate a motor vehicle, it is illegal to drive.

MPD adds that the primary psychoactive substance in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinal, which is one of over 500 known compounds in the cannabis plant, including more than 80 other cannabinoids. THC has been shown to bind with receptors in the brain causing impaired reaction time, short-term memory, diminished hand-eye coordination, loss of concentration and shortened perception of time and distance.

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“We understand the current state law which support the use of marijuana for legitimate medical purposes,” police officials say. “However, it is very important for everyone using medicinal marijuana or any other prescribed drug to understand how these drugs cause impairment. Whenever you are prescribed medication, it is your responsibility to ask your doctor and/or pharmacist how that specific medication may affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle.”

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The penalties for drug/marijuana impaired driving are similar to the penalties of alcohol impaired driving. Hawai‘i Law states that Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence of an Intoxicant is illegal. Marijuana is considered an “Intoxicant” under Hawai‘i State Law, regardless of how that marijuana is obtained or ingested. After alcohol, marijuana is the drug most often linked to impaired driving.

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