In the coming months, Oklahoma may be pioneering a pilot program that will greatly influence how driving laws are enforced in regard to cannabis use. The state is currently working on the implementation of a program to conduct marijuana breathalyzer tests which will allow the police to accurately determine who’s driving while high. Last week, Oklahoma’s legislature passed legislation requiring the Department of Public Safety to dedicate $300,000 to pay for the marijuana breathalyzer test kits. The agency will be tasked with coming up with new rules and regulations for the pilot program.
One issue that has stood in the way of legalization is the fact that there is no accurate test to see how much fresh cannabis is in someone’s system, denying law enforcement the ability to weed out who’s driving while high from those who smoked days ago. At the moment, law enforcement can only test for cannabis by testing urine, blood or hair, but unfortunately, cannabis smoked days before will still be present in your system, making it difficult to determine whether or not you are driving stoned.
According to Rep Scott Fetgatter, Oklahoma has a lot of problems when it comes to medical marijuana, DUI laws and determining impairment. There are hardly any roadside tools designed to determine cannabis impairment and if the state’s pilot program is successful, it will be the first state in the country to use cannabis breathalyzer technology. “Right now, we don’t really have a lot of roadside testing options for drug screening. Most of those things are going to fall into a blood test or drug recognition expert doing an evaluation and giving an opinion,” says Joshua Smith, director of the Board of Tests for Alcohol and Drug Influence.
The breathalyzer will test a person’s breath for THC, the cannabinoid responsible creating marijuana’s high, and it will be able to determine whether the cannabis in your system was introduced just a few hours prior. According to Fetgatter, participation should be voluntary and the test results should not be used in a punitive manner.
“It’s kind of a trial program to make sure the system works,” says Rep. Ross Ford, adding that ideally, the state would be able to collect data from the program and then report the findings back to the Legislature. Sarah Stewart, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety, says it could take up to a year to get the pilot program off the ground as the agency does research and comes up with rules and regulations.
Analysts believe the entire cannabis industry, including Sugarmade Inc. (OTCQB: SGMD), will be following events in Oklahoma to see how the trial goes.
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