Legislators Seek Oral Swab Test for Marijuana DUI

Many people associate DUI with drinking and driving. However, the term Driving Under the Influence can mean driving while intoxicated by any substance. This includes both legal prescription substances and illegal substances that impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle. However, until recently, there was no immediate way to tell if some substances were in a person’s system when stopped by police.

Ever since medical marijuana was legalized in California in 1996, the instances of drivers “driving while high” has increased. According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Association, the number of drugged driving arrests increased 22% between 2007 and 2014.

Further studies indicate that the number of drivers who were killed in accidents testing positive for marijuana increased 40% between 2009 and 2013.

Since California now has a ballot for the legalization of recreational use of marijuana, legislators want to find a way to decrease these instances. They are supporting a new kind of testing that will allow police and other authorities to test for marijuana and other substances.

The legislation would allow for law enforcement officers to use an oral swab test to detect the presence of marijuana, amphetamines, pain medication, and opiates. The legislation is backed by the California Police Chiefs Association and the California Narcotic Officers Association. It also has bi-partisan support.

There are, however, some who do not support the legislation. Dale Gieringer, the director of the California chapter of the National Organization for the Reformation of Marijuana Laws (NORML) opposes the proposed legislation.

He stated: “Oral swab testing is still an unproven technology.” He continued, “Its accuracy has not been demonstrated in controlled, published scientific studies. There’s no evidence that oral swab testing results have any correlation to impaired driving.”

In 2015, state governor Jerry Brown approved a new bureau to license, regulate, and tax those who grow, transport, and sell medical marijuana. The bill also provided for research by UC San Diego to help develop marijuana-specific field sobriety tests.

If you have been charged with DUI, it is important to have legal representation. Our attorneys are all experienced with DUI proceedings. We can help your situation. Contact us today.

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