Nevada has recently joined the growing number of states that have either decriminalized recreational marijuana or allowed its use. However, cannabis enthusiasts should not take this as a sign that they can use as much of the drug as they wish, or drive while under the influence. Smoking a joint is not the same as smoking a cigarette; marijuana may impair a driver’s reflexes and judgment, and result in injuries and criminal penalties.

The marijuana advocacy group NORML affirms that possessing up to one ounce of recreational pot is now legal in Nevada. However, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal and may result in penalties similar to driving under the influence of alcohol. Marijuana users should take into consideration the trouble they may face if they are pulled over after smoking pot or if they are found with more than one ounce of the substance.

Determining the effects of marijuana intoxication on driving has been difficult. The National Institute on Drug Abuse claims that those under the influence of THC, the intoxicating chemical found in marijuana, may have at least double the risk of a motor vehicle accident. However, THC can be found in a user’s bloodstream for up to several weeks after use, long after the high has worn off. For this reason, researchers’ determinations on the actual impairment risks have been varied.

Marijuana users may protect themselves and others from being injured by refraining from driving and using dangerous machinery after smoking pot. In addition, being wise about marijuana use is a good way to stay out of trouble with the law.