With the legalization of marijuana in several states, both recreationally and medicinally, there is a need for scientific and reliable tests to determine marijuana impairment. Driving under the influence of marijuana has become a serious issue as it can lead to accidents and fatalities. Marijuana impairment testing is essential for public safety and to help law enforcement hold accountable those who break the law. In this article, we will give you an overview of Marijuana impairment test and what you need to know.
Marijuana impairment testing is a process to determine the level of marijuana (THC) impairment in the driver’s system. These tests are similar to alcohol impairment tests, such as blood alcohol level or breathalyzer tests. However, there is no widely accepted marijuana impairment test. There are tests like blood, hair, and saliva tests that can detect THC in a person’s system, but none of them can determine the exact level of impairment. Some researchers believe that THC levels in the blood or urine do not necessarily equate to levels of impairment, and there is no uniform standard for defining marijuana impairment. Experts are still working on developing a test that can accurately measure marijuana impairment.
What are the Current Impairment Tests for Marijuana?
Currently, there are two main types of marijuana impairment tests that law enforcement officers use: field sobriety tests and drug recognition programs. Field sobriety tests, developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), are similar to alcohol field sobriety tests, which test drivers’ physical and cognitive abilities. Drug recognition programs, on the other hand, typically require a drug recognition expert (DRE) to evaluate a suspect to determine if they are under the influence of marijuana. The DRE looks for physical symptoms, such as bloodshot eyes, and evaluates the suspect’s performance on various physical and cognitive tests. These tests help the DRE determine the level of impairment, and if marijuana is the cause.
What are the Potential Issues with Marijuana Impairment Testing?
Marijuana impairment testing is still in its infancy, and there are some potential issues, including the lack of uniform testing standards and the time period during which THC can be detected. THC remains in the system for an extended period than alcohol, which makes it difficult to determine exactly when a person consumed marijuana and how long they were impaired. Additionally, some individuals develop tolerance to marijuana, which means that they may show minimal physical symptoms even when impaired. These issues are still being studied, and researchers are working to develop better tests to accurately measure marijuana impairment.
What are the Current State Laws Regarding Marijuana Impairment?
Currently, 13 states have set a THC limit for drivers, while others do not have a specific limit in place. Those that have a THC limit have it set at 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood, just like alcohol limits. However, some studies suggest that this limit may not be accurate, and a person may still be impaired even if their THC levels are below that limit. The consequences for driving under the influence of marijuana vary from state to state, but they can lead to the loss of driving privileges, fines, or even imprisonment.
What Does the Future Hold for Marijuana Impairment Testing?
The technological advancements in marijuana impairment testing are rapidly developing, especially with the rise of self-driving cars. Companies are investing in research to find better ways to accurately detect marijuana impairment without causing inconvenience to the driver. The future could see the development of tests that use saliva and breath to detect THC levels, which would be simpler and more convenient than current testing methods.
Marijuana impairment testing is essential for public safety, and researchers are working to develop better tests to accurately measure marijuana impairment. Field sobriety tests and drug recognition programs are currently the main tests used by law enforcement. However, there are some potential issues, including the lack of uniform testing standards and the time period during which THC can be detected. As the legal landscape continues to evolve, it is crucial that uniform standards are developed, and research is funded to find a reliable and accurate test that law enforcement can use to hold individuals accountable for their actions.