A new Indiana law that took effect July 1 allows drivers involved in no-fault motor vehicle crashes to have less than a nanogram of THC in their blood without being considered intoxicated by cannabis, WSBT 22 reports. Under previous state law, any amount of THC in a driver’s blood found following a crash would lead to a felony operating while impaired charge, even if the driver was not at fault.
Republican state Senator Mike Bohacek told WSBT that since cannabis is legal in Indiana border states—namely Illinois and Michigan—there should be protections for residents who may have consumed cannabis a week ago and get into a no-fault crash but still have THC in their blood despite not being under the influence.
“Even if the accident wasn’t their fault, that just seemed to not be proportional. It seemed to be heavy-handed and onerous and not really in the spirit of what we’re trying to do to stop intoxicated drivers. So this would provide a defense that as long as you’re not clearly intoxicated solely on the basis of the blood test, they could not charge you with that crime.”—Bohacek to WSBT 22
St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter explained that if the driver is the cause of the crash and tests positive for any amount of THC, the driver is “still guilty of the crime.”
“You’re still guilty of causing that death. It’s only a defense if you’re not at fault for the crash and you show no signs of impairment and it’s only for marijuana,” he said in the report. “It’s not for other drugs and it’s not for alcohol.”
Author: TG Branfalt