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Personal Injury Lawyers in Lake County

Earlier this year, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act was enacted, giving Illinois residents stricken with certain diseases the opportunity to legally use marijuana as a palliative measure. Illinois joined the growing group of states to allow the use of medical marijuana. Today, nearly half of the states in this country allow residents to seek and use medicinal marijuana.

Although marijuana use has been found to have positive effects for individuals who are suffering from certain diseases, it has intoxicating qualities and must be used responsibly. Driving while or shortly after using marijuana can be dangerous and individuals who use the drug are advised against operating a motor vehicle at these times.

Who Can Get Medical Marijuana?

Individuals who are suffering from certain diseases may obtain marijuana for its palliative effects. Currently, an individual must be suffering from one of the following diseases to be approved to use medical marijuana in Illinois:

  • Alzheimer's disease;
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS);
  • Arnold Chiari malformation;
  • Cachexia/wasting syndrome;
  • Cancer;
  • Causalgia;
  • Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy;
  • Crohn's Disease;
  • Dystonia;
  • Fibromyalgia;
  • Glaucoma;
  • Hepatitis C;
  • Hydrocephalus;
  • Hydromyelia;
  • Interstitial Cystitis;
  • Lupus;
  • Multiple Sclerosis;
  • Muscular Dystrophy;
  • Myasthenia Gravis;
  • Myoclonus;
  • Nail patella syndrome;
  • Neurofibromatosis;
  • Parkinson's disease;
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD);
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis;
  • Sjogren's syndrome;
  • Spinal cord disease;
  • Spinal cord injury;
  • Spinocerebellar Ataxia (SCA);
  • Syringomyelia;
  • Tarlov cysts;
  • Tourette's syndrome; or
  • Traumatic brain injury and post-concussion syndrome.

How Does Marijuana Help Patients?

There are five ways that marijuana has been found to help individuals suffering from the aforementioned diseases. They are as follows:

  • It can help lower pain levels.
  • In cancer patients, marijuana use has been linked to slowing tumor growth.
  • It can reduce feelings of dizziness.
  • It can help patients sleep.
  • It can help patients regain their appetites following treatment.

Driving While Under the Influence of Marijuana

Although studies have shown that driving while under the influence of marijuana is statistically safer than driving while under the influence of alcohol, it is not safe. Marijuana use can impair motorists by making them tired, causing them to have poor control of their vehicles, causing them to drive with less vigilance, increase their reaction times, and causing poor estimates of distance while on the road.

In 2012, 10.3 million Americans admitted to driving while under the influence of illegal drugs. This is in contrast to the 20 percent of Americans age 16 and over who admitted to drinking and driving.

Statistics of Driving High vs. Driving Drunk

Recent studies show that driving after smoking marijuana can have dangerous consequences. A 2012 study showed that 6.8 percent of drivers involved in car accidents tested positive for THC, the active drug in marijuana. That same study found that 21 percent of the drivers involved in car accidents had blood alcohol contents beyond the legal limit.

Another study showed that the field test used to identify drunk drivers is not very effective at identifying drivers under the influence of marijuana. This test is performed by law enforcement when they pull over drivers suspected of driving drunk and generally consists of a few basic comprehension and motor skills exercises. This type of test is approximately 88 percent accurate at identifying drunk drivers, but only correctly identifies stoned drivers about 30 percent of the time.

Staying Safe on Illinois' Roads

There are plenty of ways you can keep yourself safe while driving on Illinois' highways. If you currently use marijuana to help alleviate your medical conditions, do not smoke and drive. It is recommended that marijuana users wait at least three hours after smoking before operating a motor vehicle, but this is a conservative estimate. Always make sure you are completely stable to drive, and if you are ever in doubt, do not drive.

Because legalized marijuana is fairly new in the United States, there are not yet national laws for a legal THC threshold for drivers in the way that there is a legal threshold for drivers' blood alcohol content.

As a driver who might be sharing the road with individuals who have recently used marijuana, use the same safety precautions you normally use. Keep a safe following distance, always obey posted signs and warnings, and always drive at or slightly below the speed limit.

Medical Marijuana Lawyers in the Lake County Area

If you were injured by a driver who was driving under the influence of medical marijuana, contact Salvi & Maher, L.L.C.. Our team of experienced Lake County personal injury attorneys can help you with your case by discussing your rights and legal options while guiding you toward the best course of action for you.

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