Since the beginning of 2016, there have reports of several serious auto accidents in Washington State that may be linked to a synthetic form of marijuana, sometimes referred to as “spice.” In one of the incidents, Seattle Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman admitted he had smoked spice approximately one hour before he crashed his truck into another vehicle, resulting in serious injuries to the other driver.
Coleman Tested Negative For Marijuana
What startled many after the accident was the fact that, in spite of his admission, Coleman’s blood test was apparently negative for marijuana. Spice, unlike recreational marijuana, is unregulated and unlicensed. It is available in multiple variations, some with “nice” names like “Paradise” or “Serenity,” others with names that hint at its volatility: “AK-47” or “Mad Pitbulls,” one of the varieties found in Coleman’s vehicle.
Why Use Spice When Recreational Marijuana is Legal?
The use of synthetic marijuana begs the question: Why use it since the “real stuff” is legally available? There are at least two reasons. First, law enforcement officials indicate that the synthetic brands are available at some Seattle area convenience stores – one need not be 18 to purchase them. Second, as in Coleman’s situation, they do not show up in standard drug screenings. This second factor is really important because, while recreational marijuana use is not illegal, some employers still require routine drug screening of their employees. One unintended consequence of drug screening may well be that it pushes some in Washington away from marijuana and toward the synthetic varieties.
Negative Testing Has Important Implications in Auto Accidents
Following an auto accident, if a driver’s blood alcohol content is above the legal limit, or if the driver’s blood test shows the presence of marijuana or prescription opioids, that evidence can be used later in a personal injury action filed against the driver.
Where the driver has smoked spice, instead of marijuana, his or her drug screening will mimic that of a stone sober person. It may be much more difficult to establish that the driver was driving while impaired.
Involved in a Serious Auto Accident?
Have you or a family member been involved in a serious auto accident? Was alcohol or marijuana a factor? Is there any evidence the other driver may have been using spice or one of the other synthetic marijuana variations? If so, you need experienced, solid representation by an attorney committed to your case. Blado Kiger Bolan, P.S. has over 50 years of combined experience providing quality legal services throughout the Pacific Northwest. We can assist you with your personal injury claim. We have the resources to negotiate a settlement or go to court to try your case, if that is your best route. We work collaboratively, both with our clients and other attorneys in the firm. In this way, our clients can benefit from the many strengths that our attorneys can bring to bear on an issue. For assistance with any type of personal injury issue, contact us on the web, or call our Tacoma or Puyallup office at 253-272-2997.