Assemblyman Tom Lackey’s effort to further research on the effects of driving while high was signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom last week.
Prior to the passage of Assembly Bill 127, the California Highway Patrol was limited in the ways it could research the impacts that cannabis impairment has on a person’s driving ability. But with the legalization of adult-use cannabis through Proposition 64, Lackey, R-Palmdale, said the CHP needed a more accurate way to detect when a driver is under the influence of cannabis.
“Because cannabis is still federally classified as a Schedule I substance, there are few studies providing empirically supported evidence regarding the impairing effects of cannabis on driving-related skills,” the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research stated in the bill’s analysis, adding, “more research is needed for the department to have a clearer understanding of (marijuana’s) effects.”
With the new law, a person who is under the supervision and on the property of the CHP will now be allowed to drive a vehicle while under the influence of a drug, or while under the combined influence of a drug and alcohol, for the purpose of conducting research on impaired driving, according to the analysis.
“I would like to thank everyone who partnered with me in our fight against impaired driving,” Lackey said in a news release. “Because of this bill, the California Highway Patrol can further research impaired driving and create a safer community for our residents.”