I don’t expect much empathy in this county regarding this subject, but I hope people will at least think about what I present. There is a national discussion regarding judicial reform, and this subject may represent different things to different people. 

Here is a story that is not unique, but true: driving under the influence is an offense that affects the safety of innocent people and should not be overlooked by the community. Many people will suggest that “by the the grace of God, go I” in reference to their own experience. What’s even more relevant is the application of Pennsylvania laws, specifically as it relates to marijuana.

Pennsylvania is basically a zero-tolerance state. What does that mean? Even though we do have allowance of medical marijuana, the DUI level for marijuana is 1.0 nanogram/milliliter. The states that allow recreational marijuana have an allowance of 5.0 nanograms/milliliter. Putting that in perspective, the alcohol DUI level is 0.08 blood alcohol content; if we equated marijuana to alcohol, our state alcohol limit would be 0.02.

We are moving toward recreational marijuana, probably sooner rather than later. However, I think that now that we allow leaf marijuana for medicinal use, we should re-evaluate the level that is considered a DUI offense. There is a reason that states allowing recreational use of marijuana set a level of 5.0 nanograms/milliliter, just as we have set a 0.08 BAC level for alcohol.

Phil Atkins

Lancaster Township