The po-po in CO got a new tool to combat those who would chief blunts on the road. Many states have cannabis DUI laws and many have been trying to come up with good ways to actually enforce them, but Colorado is the first to boldly go for it and put some weird gadgets in the mouths of allegedly stoned drivers.
Here’s how the program works: the Colorado State Troopers have rolled out a demo operation of on-site weed intoxication testing, according to The Cannabist. Several products on the market can supposedly determine if a driver is too stoned to be behind the wheel, specifically if they are over or under the state’s limit of 5 nanograms of THC in their blood. Since not enough testing has been done to tell if any of these newly invented doohickeys actually work, the Rocky Mountain troopers have taken it on themselves to do the testing themselves.
Five different devices, some apparently resembling pregnancy tests and others toasters, are part of the two year experiment. The pilot program comes at the behest of the state’s marijuana task force, and with a little encouragement and funding boost from the Colorado attorney general’s office, with the goal of fighting a perceived rise in inebriated drivers since the state legalized recreational marijuana.
Drivers suspected of being under the spliff-luence will be asked if they’d like to volunteer to have their saliva tested. Inexplicably, some actually have. “If anybody asked me if they should, I would obviously tell them not to,” prominent Denver DUI attorney Jay Tiftickjian told The Cannabist. “If anything is voluntary, and if it’s not something that could be in their favor, then why would they expose themselves to that?”
It’s uncertain what weight, if any, the results of these new tests will carry in court. Since the program is still young, none of the 82 drivers who did, for some reason, allow for roadside THC testing have had their cases go to trial, and even that 5 nanograms law has in the past been disputed in court. It’s unknown at this point if any of these gizmos can actually determine whether a driver is inebriated or if they just have THC in their blood, which are two very different things.
At the end of two years, the troopers will make a decision regarding future implementation of the thingies. “I don’t know if we’re going to decide on one, three or none,” said Major Steve Garcia of the State Patrol training branch. By then, we’ll probably begin to see other states dabble in detecting stoned saliva, and have an idea of whether the idea is going to catch fire like a tightly-rolled blunt or putter out like a soggy, stem-heavy jay whose Zig-Zag fits it like MC Hammer’s pants fit him.