As I had formerly predicted within former blog postings, the inevitable law enforcement response targeting the fertile ground of THC driving arrests has begun to take shape. With prioritized research and development encouraged in the development of mobile Marijuana detection devices capable of withstanding legal challenge, reports are emerging to suggest the imminent release of new drug testing apparatus to be used to test for driver ingestion of THC in conjunction with traffic stops nationwide.
With the advent of new laws across the country that have either legalized Marijuana or decriminalized use of Cannabis, politicians and law enforcement authorities have focused their attention on the emerging possibilities presented by an increase in cannabis related arrests related to traffic enforcement.
Where proponents of legalized and regulated Marijuana distribution have emphasized the realized increase in tax revenue associated with responsible regulation of Marijuana within the state of Colorado, those on the other side of this policy issue have countered to attack such liberalized laws with new arrest tools with which to discourage Marijuana usage. Through the potential of reliable mobile THC detection devices, opponents of Marijuana proliferation aim to help facilitate traffic arrests to both target Marijuana usage while raising governmental revenue through the more tried and true means of traffic prosecution.
Depending upon the priorities of local law enforcement officials, those with the endorsement to make arrests of the driving public will soon have the wherewithal to sound a discouraging blow to those citizens seeking an unencumbered right to enjoy the emerging freedom to partake in the use of Marijuana. Through the targeting of traffic enforcement geared to snuffing out drivers with THC within their bloodstreams, local municipalities will soon be encouraged to seek out Marijuana related arrests in the same manner in which alcohol arrests have been prioritized in conjunction with traffic detentions.
For those elected officials against the proliferation of Marijuana, any means by which to increase the apprehension and prosecution of THC drivers is a no lose proposition. Such targeted law enforcement will both carry the prospect of diminishing the use of Marijuana while simultaneously increasing the local financial revenue of local municipalities increasingly dependent upon new avenues of law enforcement revenues with which to allow governmental authorities to function.
At the present time, unlike alcohol related impaired driving investigations that can provide needed probable cause through the use of judicially recognized portable breath test devices, no such weaponry is available to traffic enforcement in regard to the ability to test suspected THC drivers on scene for the presence of Marijuana. As a result, unless specified probable cause can be articulated for a legal search warrant to allow for blood draw testing for the presence of Marijuana, those with THC within their bloodstreams will more likely be permitted to drive away from police interrogation following a traffic stop with a minimized chance for subsequent arrest.
This is so due to the ability for police officials to more readily suggest probable cause to suspect impaired driving activity through the use of alcohol. The inevitable, “odor of alcoholic beverage” or “slurred speech” has provided the rationale associated with the probable cause necessary to have a suspected drunk driver blow into a portable breath test (PBT) device to measure the presence of alcohol. However, no such portable apparatus has been recognized with which to measure Marijuana at the scene of a traffic stop in the same manner as the portable alcohol test.
Fueled by the incentive to curtail what they see as the imminent dangers posed to the general public as a direct result of liberalized Marijuana laws, those political leaders determined to profit from discouraging Marijuana use through the campaign to target THC drivers may soon have their mobile testing apparatus with which to rival portable breath testing to enforce impaired driving laws.
To those in positions of public leadership determined to cease the momentum of Marijuana proliferation, the “Cannibuster,” (the most recent label in vogue) will soon be coming to the rescue.
In the race to develop such a Marijuana busting detection device, profit motivated engineers nationwide have been hard at work to be the first to provide governmental authorities the means by which to more readily arrest THC drivers. Proponents of the development of these THC busting tools suggest an almost fifty percent increase in drivers with THC within their bloodstreams in the last few years.
While the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) may tout such figures as a means by which to sound an alarm against such driving activity, politicians will likely seize upon such pronouncements to expedite the use of portable devices to detect THC as soon as possible. In so doing, an increase in these low impact THC driving arrests will become a secondary boon to local economies who have profited from the cash cow of alcohol related traffic arrests for many lucrative decades.
However, proponents of Marijuana liberalization do not all share the same fears as to the use of mobile THC devices within traffic enforcement. Whether the use of these soon to be released tools proves beneficial to the cause of responsible Marijuana usage or serves as a means by which to irrationally discourage its lawful use depends upon state law as well as the mobile THC devices ultimately endorsed by traffic enforcement.
Here is what I mean. Some states have not only refused to legally recognize or decriminalize the use of Marijuana in any form but have gone to the extent of lawfully permitting the prosecution of individuals with THC within their bloodstreams even without evidence of driving impairment. Consequently, this has resulted in the unjust prosecution of individuals who may have partaken in the use of Marijuana legally weeks earlier and are not impaired. This has been the unfortunate circumstance of individuals who have been stopped and ultimately prosecuted for having Marijuana in their bloodstream within a state jurisdiction allowing for non impaired driving activity through the mere presence of THC.
Conversely, in state jurisdictions that have not gone so far as to proceed with draconian penalties for the prosecution of THC drivers without evidence of impairment, emerging mobile THC devices capable of accurately measuring a recognized impairment level caused by THC (usually over 5 nanograms) can be of immeasurable (no pun intended) benefit. Such tools will allow for those responsibly partaking in Marijuana to more rapidly prove a lack of evidence of THC impairment level to an investigating officer on site so as to prevent the hardship of arrest and ultimate prosecution.
Reports have come to light to indicate that procedurally such mobile devices would be activated by, “Oral Fluid Sampling,” whereby a driver suspected of Marijuana usage would have the inside of the mouth swabbed on scene. Thereafter, saliva inputed within a mobile apparatus would theoretically be able to provide a roadside officer with a rapid on site measurement as to the level of suspected THC present at that time within the driver’s bloodstream.
In states where THC driving prosecutions can only commence through evidence of driving impairment, such analysis would be able to differentiate the use of recently ingested Marijuana as opposed to Cannabis merely uncovered within the bloodstream of one who may have smoked Marijuana weeks earlier.
From the legal perspective of a defense lawyer the proverbial devil is always in the details as to whether the inevitable usage of mobile THC testing apparatus will prove to be utilized in a responsible fashion. Depending upon applicable state law and the credibility of THC mobile device to be legally endorsed in the arrest of THC drivers, whether the advent of emerging technologies against the use of THC driving prove helpful or harmful to the cause of responsible use of Marijuana is a topic legal pundits nationwide will be monitoring closely in the near future.