As of January 1, 2018, it became legal for California residents to purchase and consume marijuana in the privacy of their own homes. DUI laws regarding consuming the drug and driving remained much the same. There is one catch, however. While an alcohol DUI has set limits such as the most common .08% blood-alcohol content, no such limits exist for the presence of marijuana. That doesn’t deter the Newport Beach Police. They say that they are ready to confront stoned drivers as the Newport Beach Indy reports.
Newport Beach Police officer David Spenser provided the Civil Service Board with an update regarding the enforcement of cannabis-related DUI laws.
Spenser indicated that the department is expecting an increase in marijuana-related enforcement and all patrol officers are being educated in the recognition of those who might be driving while stoned.
Spenser recently traveled around the country in order to receive the most up-to-date training in the recognition of people who are driving under the influence of cannabis. He has brought that training back to share with his fellow officers.
Spenser admits that there are roadblocks in the way. Unlike alcohol, which has prescribed limits, no limits exist for marijuana. Even if the drug and other paraphernalia are found in the car, that alone does not prove that a driver should not be behind the wheel.
Field sobriety tests and other tests geared towards recognizing the symptoms of being under the influence of various drugs are one thing officers have in their arsenal. Another thing is chemical testing to determine if someone has ingested cannabis.
Cannabis has an extremely short time period in which it is detectible in the blood. All traces are normally gone within 90 minutes of ingestion. The average time it takes to obtain a blood test after detainment is anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes.
Blood tests coupled with field sobriety tests are generally enough to show DUI impairment.