Colorado State Patrol is testing new devices that determine the levels of marijuana impairment, as well as of other seven types of drugs. It is a part of their $200,000 3 year-long marijuana pilot program that is funded by marijuana task force. They test different devices that they hope will help the troopers catch marijuana impaired drivers. These devices can show the type of drug used and the level of impairment.
In March, troopers across Colorado were testing one of the devices to check if it is simple enough to use them and how effective they are in determining the drug impairment in drivers.
There are five devices and they use saliva to check the impairment levels. They are used differently – some need to be swabbed above the tongue, and some below.
In Colorado, a driver is considered marijuana impaired when he or she has over 5 nanograms of THC in their blood. The devices were tested when troopers were arresting drivers on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs. After giving a blood test, a trooper would ask the driver if they wanted to volunteer in the DUI Marijuana Pilot Program. Fewer than 100 tests have been given so far.
The tests are voluntary and can’t affect the decision of an officer to arrest the suspect. Although, it is still not clear if these test results can be used in court.
The data collected from tests will also help Colorado State Patrol see if there have been more marijuana impaired drivers on the roads after the Amendment 64 has been passed.
Before any decisions are made on what device to use, Colorado State Patrol plans to gather 2 years’ worth of data.