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Cannabis DUI in Oregon

Oregon passed adult-use cannabis laws in 2015, and since then, Oregon has grown a reputation for drug-friendliness. It’s the first state to legalize psychedelic mushrooms while also decriminalizing possession of other drugs like heroin and cocaine. But there is nothing lenient about Oregon laws regarding a cannabis DUI (driving under the influence).

A cannabis DUI charge is a serious offense in Oregon. The best advice for responsible users? Don’t drive high.

In Oregon, a person is guilty of a cannabis DUI if they operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicating controlled substance, alcohol, or a combination.

Even medical cannabis patients in Oregon can face a cannabis DUI arrest. People who think they are doing everything right can still end up on the wrong side of the criminal justice system, so it is vital to know the facts and be prepared.

Here is a closer look at some considerations and potential consequences of driving in Oregon with cannabis in your system.


Drug Testing Drivers for THC in Oregon


Oregon implied consent law states that when operating a motor vehicle, drivers automatically consent to a drug or alcohol test, including Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta-9 THC). Police can require a THC test if they have probable cause to believe a driver is operating a motor vehicle under the influence or if they are involved in a major auto accident. However, unlike in some states, in Oregon, sobriety checkpoints are not allowed under the state Constitution.


Refusal to take a drug test in Oregon after a police officer requests it is punishable by a fine between $500 and $1,000. Evidence of refusal to take a drug test can be admissible in court in a cannabis DUI prosecution.


THC Stays in Your System


Unlike alcohol, which is detectable in your system for hours, THC lingers in a person’s system well after you consume cannabis, even for days or weeks. There is no reliable test to determine whether THC in your body corresponds with cannabis consumption that took place minutes before driving, or from days before, and there is no breathalyzer test for cannabis, THC, or THC metabolites.

THC blood tests can come up positive for days or weeks after consuming cannabis. In THC urine tests, cannabis consumption is detectable for even longer; positive results can come up for weeks or even more than a month.

How “high” you feel is not a good indicator of whether you will test positive on cannabis drug tests. Urine drug tests for THC detect a breakdown product called THC-COOH — not cannabis directly — and the tests do not measure impairment from cannabis.

Similarly, the blood level of cannabis does not directly correlate to the current level of intoxication. The effects of THC are cumulative over time, so if you consume cannabis more regularly, you are more likely to test positive for THC.

In Oregon, police are more likely to collect urine samples from drivers to test for cannabis. Blood samples are more expensive and usually only collected in major accidents.


How Do Police Determine A Cannabis DUI in Oregon?


Some states, such as Colorado and Washington, have legal minimum THC thresholds for a cannabis DUI conviction, but Oregon does not. Unlike alcohol, there is no specific THC limit for drivers in Oregon.


All Oregon officers are trained in recognizing signs of driver impairment, but a smaller group of specialized Oregon police officers complete training to become drug recognition experts (DREs). A DRE will be called to perform a drug influence evaluation if another police officer suspects impairment.


Does Having a Medical Card Protect Me From a Cannabis DUI in Oregon?


Oregon state law allows for adult use (recreational) and medical cannabis. However, the law specifically states that even if you have a medical cannabis card in Oregon, you can still get a cannabis DUI for driving under the influence.


THC levels are still detectable days or even weeks after consumption, and they do not measure the level of impairment. Therefore, medical cannabis patients in Oregon need to be informed and seek protection.


What are the possible legal and financial repercussions of DUI with cannabis in Oregon?


The penalties in Oregon for a cannabis DUI are serious and can include fines, community service, license suspension, and jail time.

Legal defense for cannabis DUI charges can cost thousands of dollars. Other expenses can quickly add up for cannabis DUI charges, including incidental expenses such as car impound fees.


Cannabis charges disproportionately impact people without the financial resources to defend themselves and access legal defense. That is why it is important for cannabis consumers to know the facts and create a proactive plan for legal support.


How To Protect Against a Cannabis DUI Charge in Oregon


A cannabis DUI arrest or cannabis DUI charge in Oregon is expensive, and the laws are constantly changing. Cannabis DUI charges disproportionately impact people without the financial resources to defend themselves and access legal defense. That is why it is important to consume responsibly, know the facts, and have a proactive legal plan.


It is imperative for cannabis consumers to understand their rights as drivers. You deserve quality representation in the event of facing cannabis DUI charges. At reepher, we help cover these and related costs.

Considering Oregon has no minimum THC threshold for a cannabis DUI conviction, cannabis consumers face serious risks if they drive with the slightest trace of THC in their system. If you’re a medical or recreational cannabis consumer concerned about potential DUI charges, consider what a reepher membership has to offer.

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