Drug Driving Cannabis

 

Charged with drug driving? Immediate help is one ‘phone call away.

Ganga, bush, blow, black, grass, hash, herb, skunk, whacky backy; some of the street names for this class “B” controlled drug. Cannabis can be found in three different forms:

(i) hash or cannabis resin which is more rarely found these days;
(ii) cannabis oil which is a yellowy/brownish sort of oil and,
(iii) the far more common weed, grass or herbal, which is produced from the dried leaves and flowering parts of the female cannabis plant.
The latter looks like the sort of dried herbs you might find in a supermarket – not in a loose form but compressed together. Skunk is an even stronger derivative of the cannabis plant being made mainly from the flowering parts.

Skunk, is frequently grown in greenhouse conditions, using a hydroponic system of watering; growth of the plants being encouraged with artificial lighting. Plants may be cultivated in a sort of nutrient rich sludge (almost liquid like) rather than in normal soil. The result of all this criminal effort is a drug of greater potency than that grown in open conditions in a warmer climate.

The drug may be ingested (find its way into your bloodstream) in a number of ways;

(a) eating (or perhaps drinking) say in a cannabis cake or cookie, or perhaps brewed as a tea, or
(b) far more commonly, smoking by using a bong or rolled into a cigarette (“joint” or “spliff”). Frequently rolling tobacco is combined in the cigarette which the user may roll. When eaten or smoked the drug (“tetrahydrocannabinol”, or THC, the important narcotic part of the plant), will enter the bloodstream shortly afterwards, attaching itself to receptors. It will then travel quickly through the cardiovascular system, providing the “hit” users crave.

Significant amounts of cannabis are now grown in the UK and, unlike heroin or cocaine, this drug is not always imported. Leaving aside large to medium scale criminal enterprises; it is commonly known that, for many people, cultivating cannabis is a type of cottage industry with users frequently growing a few plants at home to satisfy their needs. Controversially, many – frequently older users – say that their use (and possible production) is for a medical purpose; in particular to alleviate chronic pain of the muscular-skeletal system. This, however, is not an argument which impresses the police and, though this may be used as an argument in mitigation at court by your lawyer, it does not get away from the fact that use, production and possession are viewed by the authorities as serious criminal offences.

In effect there is a “zero-tolerance” for use, production and possession of this drug. Nowhere are the effects of this “zerotolerance” approach better demonstrated than in the area of drugdriving. If proof is needed for this view then the mere existence of the new law itself (the new section 5A of the Road Traffic Act) is confirmation enough: it has, after all, only been with us since 2015!

The prosecution level for drug-driving, is comparatively low, 2 micrograms per one litre of blood (a limit far lower than was recommended by Government experts), particularly when it is remembered that when smoked a typical cannabis joint – and every joint will be slightly different – then the blood THC level, could rise to well over 100 micrograms in just over 5 minutes. It may be a surprise to learn that, when smoked – no matter how much cannabis the joint contains – it is highly likely that the limit of 2 micrograms will still be exceeded, some 24 hours later; even though the user may not be experiencing any after effects at this late stage! In fact one “drag” on a spliff will shoot the THC blood level up to between 15 and 20 micrograms (getting on for ten times the legal limit) within minutes.

Skunk is one of about 100 derivatives of the cannabis plant, all of which have, as a major constituent, a chemical compound THC. When the police take a blood sample from a suspect at the police station, then it is the THC level in the blood that is eventually measured (perhaps weeks later), by a forensic scientist. Note that, unlike breath specimens given by a suspect at a police station (in a drink driving prosecution), measuring your blood THC level is by no means an exact science [see video “Drug Driving”]; moreover, there will be no immediate result. Various tests and procedures have to be carried out on the blood sample provided; factors personal to the individual and the cannabis consumed, will all have an effect upon the eventual result provided by the laboratory.

These include:

PERSONAL FACTORS –

  1. Age, weight and height;
  2. Metabolic rate (and this will be particularly relevant if the drug has been consumed in a cake or cookie);
  3. Whether or not other drugs or alcohol have been used (or other prescribed, possibly, powerful medication);

FACTORS RELEVANT TO CANNABIS –

  1. The type of cannabis consumed (its strength);
  2. The period of time over which it has been consumed
  3. The manner in which it was consumed (smoked, eaten or drunk);

 

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

If you are waiting for the results of a blood analysis, or been charged with the new section 5A offence, of driving with or attempting to drive with excess levels of a specified drug (cannabis, cocaine, etc.,); or been charged with the old section 4 offence of driving whilst unfit, then you require to find out URGENTLY whether or not the allegation can be defended. If a lawyer can offer the following then you may think it wise to make that call:

  1. Initial ‘phone advice given free of charge;
  2. Available to speak to clients 7 days a week, 365 days a year between 8.00 AM and 8.00 PM;
  3. A specialist drug and drink driving advocate, who has practiced for 36 years in both the Magistrates and Crown Court, with experience of both the High Court and Court of Appeal;
  4. Who will have sole control of your case and who will be the one taking your call, at 12.00 midday on a Saturday, if you choose to call. In other words a lawyer available at your convenience, not the other way around;
  5. A list of references from satisfied clients and access to expert witnesses, at the “cutting-edge” of their respective professions.

If you want all of the above qualities in your lawyer, then call now on 07786 709 403 for a few minutes, no obligation, free legal advice. You have absolutely nothing to lose by making that first call: it may save you your licence and avoid a criminal conviction!