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Michigan Might Be The First State To Use Controversial Roadside Saliva Tests For Pot

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Lawmakers in Michigan are moving forward with legislation to implement roadside saliva tests for marijuana, despite word from researchers that the tests are far from perfect. 

 

According to The Detroit Free Press, the bill would make Michigan the first state to adopt the test.

The bill is supported by state legislators from both parties, and has support from the Michigan State Police.

The idea is to give police an analogue to the breath tests used to check whether drivers are drunk.

Drivers wouldn't be arrested just for failing the proposed saliva tests -- instead, the tests would be used to add to the evidence used to justify an arrest. But researchers who have studied the test say the results are inconsistent, especially when applied to regular marijuana users.

Michigan has 100,000 residents allowed to use medical marijuana.“I don’t know what the level [for impaired driving] is going to be on the Michigan tests, but I suspect you’ll effectively prohibit many people from driving,” Brett Ginsburg, an associate professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, told the Free Press.

The issue is that while alcohol "pretty much permeates the entire body, all at once,” according to Ginsburg, THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana, affects the brain through the nervous system. 

Saliva, obviously, falls outside the nervous system, making it a bad indicator of how behavior might be impaired. Advocates have raised the issue with the lawmakers pushing the bill.

In response, state Rep. Dan Lauwers ®, the bill's sponsor, has said he would support an amendment to let people with medical marijuana licenses decline the test.

According to the Free Press, police in Los Angeles are currently using the tests in field trials, to figure out if they could hold up in court.



Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/michigan-roadside-marijuana-tests#ixzz2zeGUaTO3

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http://norml.org/legal/drug-testing/item/the-abcs-of-marijuana-and-drug-testing
 

Saliva testing, like blood testing, detects the presence of parent drugs – not their inactive metabolites. Consumers take heart: THC is highly difficult to identify in oral fluids, as only a minute amount of the drug is excreted into the saliva. As a result, most current saliva testing technology typically only detects the presence of cannabis for a period of approximately one to two hours following drug ingestion, and sometimes not at all.

 

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Detection time of THC in saliva : whatever the test used, THC (the active ingredient in cannabis) can never be detected more than 4 to 6 hours in saliva. The extremely low detection level of the NarcoCheck saliva test allows to fully exploit this window of time. The detection time of our test will therefore be 4 to 6 hours after the last joint smoked, regardless of the level of consumption.

 

http://www.narcocheck.com/en/saliva-drug-tests/thc-marijuana-saliva-test.html

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If they're thinking about doing this someone should point out the short comings of such testing. Outside of pass/fail it's of absolutely no use to anyone that consumes cannabis orally. It's been shown to be as high as 1000x the levels actually in the system. I simply don't understand how they think this is going to be able to hold up in court.

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If they're thinking about doing this someone should point out the short comings of such testing. Outside of pass/fail it's of absolutely no use to anyone that consumes cannabis orally. It's been shown to be as high as 1000x the levels actually in the system. I simply don't understand how they think this is going to be able to hold up in court.

It's just a pass/fail test to tell if you smoked in the last 6 hours. If it's sold for what it is then what is the problem? If it gets in place then we move forward with showing that medical patients, that have gotten used to the drug, just like prescription warnings, can safely operate a vehicle.

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We know these legislators aren't rocket scientists, or for that matter any kind of scientist, and most have never seen the inside of a science classroom post high school, where they were getting high between classes. Has anyone else called or written to inquire what objective test would be required to establish the probable cause constitutionally required to obtain a warrant to perform a bodily search, to include blood or saliva?

 

I do kinda like the accommodation that would permit registered medical users to decline, but that still leaves Fourth Amendment issues for everyone else. It may very well not survive a serious court challenge.

Edited by GregS

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If they're thinking about doing this someone should point out the short comings of such testing. Outside of pass/fail it's of absolutely no use to anyone that consumes cannabis orally. It's been shown to be as high as 1000x the levels actually in the system. I simply don't understand how they think this is going to be able to hold up in court.

Thank you

 

it will hold up in Court because most don't have the $$ to fight it that is how they look at it

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We know these legislators aren't rocket scientists, or for that matter any kind of scientist, and most have never seen the inside of a science classroom post high school, where they were getting high between classes. Has anyone else called or written to inquire what objective test would be required to establish the probable cause constitutionally required to obtain a warrant to perform a bodily search, to include blood or saliva?

 

I do kinda like the accommodation that would permit registered medical users to decline, but that still leaves Fourth Amendment issues for everyone else. It may very well not survive a serious court challenge.

Thanks

 Most warrants are rubber stamped imo

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Arizona Supreme Court Takes a Smart Approach to Stoned Driving


By: patrick devlin Friday April 25, 2014 10:23 am

 



cross posted at mLaw


The Arizona Supreme Court has overturned an appeals court ruling that allowed police to arrest drivers who are legal medical cannabis users who are in no way impaired.


Police-Stop-woodleywonderworks-CC-Flickr

The Arizona Supreme Court rules for sanity in the state’s drugged driving law.



The state’s lower court had agreed with state prosecutors who argued that Arizona’s zero-tolerance style law regarding driving with detectable remnants of cannabis use, some of which remain inactive in the blood stream for as long as 30 days after using the medicine, allowed police officers to arrest medical cannabis users who were not under the influence of the substance.


The court ruling establishes that, in Arizona, for a driver to be arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of cannabis, the driver has to actually be under the influence of cannabis. Only after finding active cannabis metabolites in the blood of a driver can the police make a DUI arrest for cannabis.


The court’s decision arose from an incident where a driver was stopped by Arizona police for speeding. When the driver advised the officer that he had used cannabis the previous evening, the driver was blood tested and arrested.


The decision rendered by the court stated plainly that the officer’s interpretation of the law “leads to absurd results. Most notably, this interpretation would create criminal liability regardless of how long the metabolite remains in the driver’s system or whether it has any impairing effect.”


Hold-out Justice Ann A, Scott-Timmer, who remained unconvinced by the other justices’ clear-cut understanding of the matters involved in the case, wrote as the sole dissenter that, in her mind, arresting drivers whose blood stream contains inactive cannabis metabolites that in no way effect or impair drivers for DUI serves to “enhance detection and prosecution of drugged driving.”


The practice of arresting patients who are not under the influence of cannabis, a knowing misinterpretation of the intent of Arizona’s traffic safety laws, was viewed to be a form of harassment by police (some of whom do not personally agree with medical cannabis) due to the fact that simple common sense should indicate to an honest person that it is physically impossible for a cannabis user to be under the influence of a drug that they consumed weeks or even months earlier.


The questionable and aggressive interpretation of the state’s zero-tolerance rules was enshrined as standard operating police procedure when Arizona state prosecutors warned all medical cannabis users to simply stay off Arizona’s roads or risk being arrested for driving under the influence. Medical Cannabis advocates and patients, outraged over the suggestion that cannabis using patients could never drive again because they are administering legal medications, correctly analyzed that the prosecutors’ threat criminalized their usage of the legal medicine.


Across the US, 26 states have passed legislation allowing for cannabis to be used by patients as medicine. As it stands today the laws regarding how cannabis in the blood stream of drivers is measured to identify impaired drivers are inconsistent and contradict each other. Eight of these states have rules similar to Arizona, where the laws do not distinguish between active and inactive cannibidiol metabolites creating Catch 22 situations for patients; choose to use medicine and risk being arrested on criminal charges, or do without needed medications.


In 2013 the Supreme Court of Michigan held that medical cannabis patients have to be shown by police to actually be impaired by cannabis usage before being criminally charged with driving under the influence.


The attorney for the arrested Arizona medical cannabis patient, Michael Alarid III, told the Associated Press that the court’s the ruling on the matter and the clarity that the decision provides can “have far reaching impacts on medical marijuana patients” in that it “corrects an error in the interpretation of the law.”


 


Photo by woodleywonderworks released under a Creative Commons license.


 


 

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Our government is beside themselves with the loss of revenue from drunk driving tickets. Our local library, which was completely funded from DUI arrests is now pleading for a new source of support. They intend to make up for it with a completely new source, cannabis users. To be realistic, this is not about saving lives or keeping the road safe, the bottom line is money.

Cannabis and driving is not as simple as one might think, in fact its a very complex, and sometimes scientific issue which can be supported by the US funded examination of cannabis and driving performed in the Netherlands in the early nineties. 

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Americas politicians may one day allow legal cannabis in all 50 states for adults to partake in, but those same politicians will find new ways to arrest for using legal cannabis.

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