Roadside Marijuana Testing Difficult: Police

  Roadside Marijuana Testing Difficult: Police

Posted by CN Staff on July 29, 2003 at 08:22:11 PT
By Erika Tustin  
Source: Peterborough Examiner 

Police are concerned it will be difficult to prove motorists were driving under the influence of marijuana should it be decriminalized. “How are we going to evaluate whether the person has THC in their system?” said city police Sgt. Rob Hotston. “I am not aware of any scientifically approved test for evaluating THC in a person’s system other than drawing blood. We can’t do blood tests on the side of the road.” 
Both city police and Peterborough County OPP said without a reliable roadside test it’s also difficult to determine if a driver is impaired by marijuana or lack of sleep, he said. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the chemical in marijuana that produces psychoactive, mind-altering, reactions to the drug. According to the Canada Safety Council (CSC), drivers under the influence of THC can have impaired psychomotor skills and shorter attention spans, making it more difficult to drive accurately and steer. Under the Criminal Code, drivers can be charged with impaired driving for using both alcohol and drugs. The CSC recently released a report urging the provincial and federal governments to consider new legislation for impaired laws, zero-tolerance and 12-hour driver licence suspensions should small amounts of marijuana be decriminalized. Hotston said an officer can apply for a blood warrant when a person is unable to provide a breath sample at the scene – such as in an accident – and if alcohol is suspected. If drugs are detected, the evidence is admissible but officers cannot lay an impaired drug charge on scent alone, he said. “The courts have held that the odour of marijuana is insufficient,” Hotston said. “Coupled with other things it could be grounds for a search but the sure fire way is through a blood test. I imagine that would pose a number of constitutional issues.” Director of the OPP’s drug enforcement unit, Det. Supt. Jim Hutchison, said the decriminalization of marijuana and its possible spinoff effect on impaired driving has been an ongoing policing concern. Hutchison said three OPP officers from Toronto recently joined 17 officers from across Ontario in the Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) program. The DRE program in Vancouver, B.C., trained and certified officers to recognize the physical signs associated with different kinds of drugs, Hutchison said. But the training is costly and officers need to recertify every year. Hutchison said there is currently no plan to offer the program again. Source: Peterborough Examiner, The (CN ON)Author: Erika Tustin Published: Monday, July 28, 2003Copyright: 2003 Osprey Media Group Inc.Contact: news1 Website: Articles & Web Site:Cannabis News Canadian Links Caught in Middle of Drug War Advised To Delay Pot Possession Charges Tickets Issued To Pot Smokers Police Follow Pot Ruling 

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Comment #3 posted by mike2003 on August 11, 2003 at 09:25:51 PT:
black market&unemployment
Police can't even tell if someone is under the influence of marijuana.So come on people how bad can it be? This should tell you something!If all a driver seems to be is tired under the influence, boy marijuana is really awful! Mike
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Comment #2 posted by afterburner on August 02, 2003 at 11:35:30 PT:

Contrast the Facts vs. the Scare Stories
Contrast: Statistics show all drivers are a risk
Posted by logos on Monday, July 28   09:51:19 MST 
 Source: Ventura County Star"I am very sorry about all the deaths in Santa Monica caused by an 86-year-old driver, but before we start pulling the driver's licenses of old folks, let's look at the facts:" ...."5. Those who drive while smoking marijuana have fewer accidents than the national average. So maybe smoking marijuana should be required to drive. [See: Is it safe to drive under the influence of marijuana? ]"ego transcendence follows ego destruction, the cannabis state is not a brain-cell-destroying alcohol state.
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Comment #1 posted by BGreen on July 29, 2003 at 11:25:56 PT

Easy Solution
Both city police and Peterborough County OPP said without a reliable roadside test it’s also difficult to determine if a driver is impaired by marijuana or lack of sleep, he said.Either arrest all of the tired people or stop arresting any of the cannabis users.The Rev. Bud Green
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