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More Drivers Test Positive For Pot Since Washington Legalized Cannabis: Cops


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The number of Washingtonians who tested positive for pot while driving got higher ever since the leaf's legalization in January, authorities said.

 

 

 

Washington State Patrol says it found THC, marijuana's psychoactive ingredient, in the bloodstream of 745 drivers pulled over this year.

 

That’s a nine percentage point increase from where we were last year at this time, Sgt. Jason Hicks explained.

 

 

"It was previously illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana and it remains illegal," Mason Tvert, spokesperson for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), told the Daily News.

 

 

 

Voters in Washington state passed Initiative 502 to legalize the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for recreational use.

"Law enforcement officials should focus their time and attention on people driving impaired on any substance and not just possessing marijuana."

 

MPP's goal is to end marijuana prohibition and replace it with a system where marijuana is regulated like alcohol.

 

 

And like alcohol, testing positive for pot does not necessarily mean that the driver is impaired. The legal limit is 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood.

 

 

But 420 of those 745 who tested positive exceeded that limit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s right: Four. Twenty.

 

 

Twenty states and the District of Columbia permit medical marijuana use but in January Washington and Colorado became the only states to legalize recreational use of

 

cannabis.

 

 

But Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana (CALM) — as expected — is neither happy about this development not surprised by the state patrol’s recent findings.

 

 

"Whenever you normalize drug use you're going to get instances like driving under the influence of drugs increase," Scott Chipman, chairman of CALM's Southern

 

 

California branch, said to The News.

 

 

 

 

 

He said that — though others say marijuana isn't deadly — innocent people have died as a result of pot-smoking "drug addicts selfishly pursuing their drug of choice."

 

 

 

The State Patrol arrests about 20,000 people every year on suspicion of driving under the influence of a controlled substance. Other police agencies report similar

 

numbers.

 

But Hicks says that legal recreational use of pot is too new for them to say definitively that it led to the jump.

 

 

“In about 3 years, we will have an idea of whether marijuana is showing an increase,” he said.

 

 

Another explanation could be a mandatory class for troopers on detecting people under the influence of any drugs.

 

 

Still another could be the ability of authorities to obtain more blood samples than before, Hicks suggested.

 

 

 

Recreational pot stores are scheduled to open in Washington state next year.



Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/drivers-test-positive-pot-cannabis-legalization-wash-cops-article-1.1527867#ixzz2lg8mcHmV

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