“Cannibuster” Promises Roadside Marijuana Test

“Cannibuster” Promises Roadside Marijuana Test

The “Cannibuster” has been a long time in the making. A roadside marijuana test has been the holy grail of law enforcement for some time now, and researchers at the University of Akron believe they have invented it. Unlike testing for alcohol–which can be done at roadside with a simple breath test–quantifying the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in a driver’s system has required a blood test and a much greater time commitment by law enforcement. Called “The Cannibuster,” the new device was recently presented at the ninth annual LaunchTown Entrepreneurship Awards. The event celebrates five competitors representing some of the brightest and most innovative ideas being produced at northeast Ohio universities. Researchers are seeking funding for creating prototype, and they have vowed to work with law enforcement to develop it. Currently California law provides for an immediate administrative driver’s license suspension for any motorist who drives with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater. Legislative efforts to establish a “per se” level of illegality for THC have stalled in California, in part because of the expense of performing blood tests for every motorist stopped. Look for devices like the Cannnibuster to spawn an entirely new “per se” suspension scheme at DMV (as has been done in Colorado and Washington for 5 nanograms of THC per millimeter of whole blood), as officers can determine THC levels at roadside....

Authorities worry about drugged driving after new pot law takes effect

Maryland needs more trained police officers to combat problem, prosecutors say Maryland prosecutors are concerned that the new law eliminating criminal penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana will result in an increase in “drugged driving” that police are ill-equipped to handle. “It is inevitable that there will be an increase in drugged driving in Maryland,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said. “We’d better be ready.” Maryland’s decriminalization law, which makes possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil violation, takes effect Oct. 1. Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger and other prosecutors wanted state legislators to delay passing the law until such consequences could be better studied in Colorado and Washington, where voters legalized marijuana use in 2012. Colorado authorities are more aggressively addressing drugged driving, and Maryland officials should take notice, McCarthy and Shellenberger said. Colorado Department of Transportation officials launched a public education campaign in March called “Drive High, Get a DUI” featuring comical commercials about people who are high on marijuana and have no business driving. “We have seen an increase in drugged driving,” said John Jackson, first vice president of the Colorado Chiefs of Police Association. The evidence has been largely anecdotal, but his organization is receiving funds from state taxes on marijuana sales to train more officers as drug recognition experts. “We want to get ahead of the curve.” Colorado wants to expand the number of drug recognition experts from 212 to 300 over the next year, said Glenn Davis, Colorado’s highway safety manager. The costly training process takes nearly two weeks. The Maryland State Police employs 28 drug recognition experts and...

Metro: Marijuana impairment rising among drivers

LAS VEGAS — Metro Police said they have a huge problem on their hands when it comes to people using marijuana and driving. During the last three years, Metro’s forensics lab screened 4,500 blood samples for marijuana with the bulk of those being impaired drivers. In Crystal Hill’s home, there are memories and pictures of her 18-year-old son Jesse. Jesse died January 1 while walking with his girlfriend. The two were near the family’s home when a car slammed into them. Court records show the driver, Christian Diaz, had seven times the legal amount of marijuana in his blood. “I had to file his first and last tax return yesterday. His brother doesn’t talk about him,” Crystal Hill said. “They’re twenty months apart in age. They were book ends. That was his hero.” Metro Police said marijuana impairment is a problem, and it’s getting worse. Metro said drug impairment, unlike alcohol impairment, isn’t easy to detect. Department statistics show if police tested each impaired driver involved in a fatal crash today, one in ten would likely test positive for marijuana. “If it continues on this path, in the next five or six years, we could see marijuana and other non-alcoholic drugs overtake our DUI problem with alcohol,” Sgt. Todd Raybuck of Metro’s Traffic Bureau said. “We have a short memory when it comes to these accidents, and, unfortunately, that short memory lasts a lifetime for the victims.” Metro said marijuana is dangerous because it slows down mental reactions and a driver’s judgment of time and distance. Statewide records from 2002 to 2012 show 45 percent of drivers who were impaired by drugs had...

DUIs For Even a Trace of Weed Being Considered in California

click to enlarge                                               Timothy Norris for LA Weekly A proposal in the state legislature could mean DUIs for drivers who aren’t stoned but who toked a few days ago. It would also target motorists who have even a trace of such prescription drugs as Ambien, Vicodin or even phentermine, a diet drug, in their systems when they’re stopped by cops who think they’re impaired. Medical marijuana supporters are aghast. And they might have good reason to be: Weed’s main ingredient, THC, can stay in your bloodstream for a few days, even if you’re long past being stoned. The cannabis community says laws like this (which was also proposed last year, unsuccessfully) will have the effect of persecuting regular medicinal users. The bill, AB 2500, was recently introduced by Assemblyman Jim Frazier. It would mean that any detected amount of any controlled substance, including some prescription medicines, would be cause for a drunk-driving conviction. We reached out to Frazier’s people for his take on this, but we had yet to hear back. According to the language of the legislation:   This bill would make it unlawful for a person to drive a motor vehicle if his or her blood contains any detectable amount of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol of marijuana or any other drug classified in Schedules I, II, III, or IV of the California Uniform Controlled Substance Act. Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML, told us the bill “gives you a DUI if you have any controlled substance in your blood stream. It’s pretty extreme.” As it works its way through the legislature, it’s possible AB 2500 could be amended to apply only to marijuana,...