The state government of Illinois recently passed a law legalizing marijuana use for adults who are at least 21 years of age. The new law takes effect on January 1st.

However, while it will be legal for you to use marijuana in Illinois as of that date, the laws against driving while under the influence of either drugs or alcohol are not changing. The new law presumes that you will use marijuana responsibly and not endanger yourself or others by driving while impaired by its use.

Nevertheless, according to KMOV 4, law enforcement anticipates that once the legalization goes into effect, there may be more impaired drivers on the road. It can be more difficult for law enforcement to detect whether a driver is under the influence of cannabis compared to alcohol, but authorities are taking steps to prepare themselves before the new law goes into effect.

At the state level, law enforcement is providing new cadets with Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement training, while current troopers are receiving instruction in becoming Drug Recognition Experts.

The tests currently in use to detect alcohol in a person’s system do not work for marijuana. State law enforcement is currently researching a method of testing saliva. In the meantime, however, it is necessary to collect a sample of either urine or blood from a driver for testing. This is inconvenient for everyone involved as there can be a delay of months before receiving the test results.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.