We knew that after Initiative 502 took effect that the first death related to marijuana would probably be newsworthy. And that is exactly what has happened.
It happened in Vancouver on Monday night after a car struck and killed a pedestrian. Around 5:45pm, a Ford pickup truck being driven by a 47-year old man struck and killed a man in his 50s who was crossing a four-lane road. The driver remained on the scene of the accident and it was only after the interview that police decided to arrest the driver on suspicion of driving under the influence of marijuana. The amount of active THC in the blood will be analyzed by the Washington State Toxicology Lab.
Here's the ironic aspect of this incident: the victim was roughly equidistant between two lit and regulated intersections where he could have had the right of way, but instead chose to cross in the middle of the street where no lights or crosswalk were present.
Normally, that would mean that the victim has at least contributing fault to the accident in some manner. However, prosecutors will likely consider it differently since the driver is suspected of being under the influence at the time of an auto-pedestrian accident.
Keep in mind that even though the driver was placed under arrest, that does not mean that he is guilty of DUI. In fact, there is no evidence that his driving was impaired whatsoever, as police only charged the man after interviewing him. Plus, if the driver's blood test results reveal a THC level of less than 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood, then the suspect is not legally in violation under the state's new marijuana laws unless he was "impaired."