Gov. Brown Signs Bill That Prohibits Smoking Pot While Driving or Riding in Vehicle

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With state-licensed marijuana sales months away, Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed a bill that prohibits smoking or consuming cannabis while driving or riding in a vehicle in California.

A man smokes a marijuana joint in this file photo. (Credit: David Ramos/Getty Images)

The measure was written by Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) in anticipation of the state’s Jan. 1 start of marijuana sales for recreational use. The new law makes a violation punishable with a $70 fine.

It is already illegal to drive while intoxicated with marijuana and to have an open bag of cannabis in a motor vehicle. The new law bans actually smoking marijuana or consuming cannabis edibles while driving or riding in a vehicle. It is similar to open container laws that prohibit drinking while driving.

In proposing the law, Hill cited a 2012 study by the California Office of Traffic Safety that found more weekend nighttime drivers in California tested positive for marijuana than alcohol.

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