If you know someone who smokes marijuana, you’ve likely heard them say once or twice that smoking doesn’t affect their driving. They claim that they’d never drive drunk, but stoned driving? Not a second thought. But is there any truth to the claim that cannabis doesn’t affect your ability to drive? Or, is driving high still impaired driving, even when you feel capable?

As more states legalize marijuana, and its presence grows, law enforcement continues to investigate and work to understand stoned driving. According to the Marshall Project, research shows that driving stoned is the same as driving with a blood alcohol level between .01 and .05. If that research were to become biological fact, high drivers always follow the law, as the law is .08% BAC.

Stoned Driving: Is it Impaired Driving?

The problem is that scientists have not been able to establish a clear link between the amount you smoke, and the amount of THC (the compound that gets you ‘high’) in your blood. While alcohol has a few variables, there’s a direct increase in blood alcohol level if someone drinks consecutive beverages quickly. However, the same cannot be said about weed.

There are still factors, such as weight. But, tolerance to marijuana works quite differently than your drinking three beers. In short, those three beers are going to affect your BAC whether you feel drunk or not. However, those two hits of marijuana might not affect you whatsoever if you smoke heavily. For reasons such as these, the scientific differences between stoned driving and drunk driving are still inconclusive.

But in a not-so-legal state… it doesn’t matter how much you smoke. It matters that you smoked at all.

Ultimately, in North and South Carolina, it doesn’t matter if you’re able to smoke and drive sufficiently. Being that our state is not legal, stoned driving is still illegal and seen as impairment. Tolerance and ability will fall to the wayside, especially if you have marijuana on you. So, your best bet is to skip the high driving, and leave the extra stuff at home. Doing so, will ensure that you are not facing prosecution for DUI/DWI.