“Impairment is impairment,” Oklahoma authorities say medical marijuana card no excuse for driving under the influence

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OKLAHOMA CITY – A new study from AAA found 70 percent of Americans think they will not be caught by police while driving under the influence of marijuana.

“Certain officers are especially trained to spot the impairment from drugs specifically, and those officers are called drug recognition experts,” said Kevin Behrens, the director for the Board of Tests for Alcohol and Drug Influence.

There are about 3,200 of them, from all difference agencies, across Oklahoma. With medical marijuana now legal in Oklahoma, their job became a bit trickier because of some common misconceptions.

“I think what a lot of people don’t understand is impairment is impairment, whether it is from alcohol, marijuana or other drugs and, if they have a prescription or medical marijuana card, if a person is behind the wheel, they are still dangerous,” Behrens said.

The new study from AAA found 70 percent of Americans think otherwise, assuming they won’t get caught by police while driving high, and 14.8 million Americans reported driving one hour after using marijuana just within the past 30 days.

“We have a disconnect in our understandings of the impact of marijuana on driving. It greatly disrupts the brain and its functions of reaction time,” said Leslie Gamble, a spokesperson for AAA Oklahoma. “We just want to encourage people, if you feel different, you drive different.”

The study also found arrests for marijuana-impaired driving have increased 20 percent across the nation since 2015.

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