When cannabis is legalized anywhere, one of the major issues for police is determining when someone is too impaired to legally and safely drive. Vancouver police, however, have found a solution: A test for impairment not just from cannabis, but also methamphetamine, opiates, and cocaine.
These new machines offer strong hope that roads can stay safe. Unfortunately, the new cannabis testing has a few shortcomings as well.
While the Drug Read machines are fantastic for catching folks with serious drugs on board, unfortunately for cannabis users the machine is super sensitive when it comes to saliva THC levels.
This is particularly an issue because the device doesn’t return levels, but instead a simple positive or negative reading. As THC can remain in saliva for up to 24 hours, a driver who smoked nearly a full day earlier could still fail the test and wrongfully charged with impaired driving.
While the Canadian government struggles to define what an acceptable THC level is for safe driving, this is complicated by how THC differently impacts different people; what’s a mild high for some veterans can be far too much to handle for a rookie smoker.
Currently, though, the system can’t detect levels, only positive or negative, so a better roadside testing method will need to be found.
Currently, a positive or negative result would not be appropriate for charging someone with impaired driving.
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