When the current wave of marijuana legalization hadn’t fully taken root around the country, concerns about impaired driving mainly focused on alcohol. Today, impaired driving can be due to alcohol, cannabis and, in some few cases, medications.
For a police officer looking for impaired drivers, there is a growing challenge to distinguish cannabis impairment from impairment caused by alcohol consumption. This is because there is no agreement about how much THC, the cannabis compound responsible for making users high, is sufficient to cause a driver to be impaired. Additionally, impaired drivers exhibit the same signs, such as swerving while driving, delayed reactions while at traffic intersections, driving too slowly or too fast, and so on.
As a result, law enforcement agencies in different jurisdictions are having to tweak their protocols and procedures in order to take action against those suspected to be driving under the influence of cannabis (DUIC). Captain Rick Bancroft, who works in the sheriff’s department in Monroe County, New York, defines drugged drivers as drivers who are impaired by a substance that isn’t alcohol. Such a person drives in a way that is unsafe to themselves and other road users, which is why impaired driving is of concern to law enforcement.
Since there is no acceptable test to rule out or confirm cannabis impairment, Bancroft says that officers now have to rely on the normal sobriety tests that they have been conducting and then add the special measures drug-recognition professionals recommend when deciding whether someone is driving under the influence of marijuana or not.
Some police departments, such as the Rochester PD, have a 12-step process to help in identifying people who are suspected to be impaired by cannabis. For example, an officer may use a breathalyzer to find out whether a driver exhibiting the signs of impaired driving has a blood alcohol level exceeding the legal limit.
Once alcohol impairment is ruled out, the officer may look at the taste buds at the back of the mouth to see if they look dark and are swollen. This is often a sign that someone has consumed cannabis a short while before. The pupils will also be dilated while the eyes will be bloodshot.
For people who show signs of cannabis impairment, an ultraviolet light is shone on the tongue and if red patches show on the tongue, THC consumption is strongly suspected. The screening process continues until as many of the 12 steps as possible have been exhausted. An arrest is then made, and the struggle to prove cannabis impairment in court begins.
As the consumption of marijuana becomes more mainstream, opportunities may arise for companies such as Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX), which don’t deal in marijuana directly but rather meet the needs of people in the “plant-touching” line of business. These companies have every reason to support efforts to keep impaired drivers off the road.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://cnw.fm/ACTX
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