Hay Fever Or High? Toronto Police Preparing For Legal Pot, But Can’t Rely On Tests For Impaired Drivers

Article by Malone Mullin, CBC News

Hay fever or high? Toronto police preparing for legal pot, but can't rely on tests for impaired drivers Unlike blood-alcohol levels, 'there is no number for drugs and that is the challenge,' says officer

With 200 officers trained to detect inebriated drivers already — and more on the way in time for marijuana’s expected legalization next spring — Sgt. Brett Moore of Toronto police’s Traffic Services is confident in law enforcement’s ability to prevent stoners from getting away with driving high.

But Moore admits the drug presents its share of challenges.

“It is a shift from alcohol,” he told CBC’s Metro Morning earlier this week.

But testing for cannabis impairment, he says, follows the same principles as testing for alcohol, despite the lack of a handy breath test.

Moore says he’s got officers preparing for pot’s release on Canadian drivers the only way they can: they’re training for “standard field sobriety testing,” which checks for red or glassy eyes and the driver’s ability to balance.

If suspected impaired drivers don’t perform well on those initial exams, says Moore, they’re taken in to see an evaluator, who performs a medical exam.

And if that goes poorly, a urine test is requested.

But unlike blood-alcohol levels, which are easily determined, “there is no number for drugs and that is the challenge,” Moore said.

“That’s what the courts and the legal folks are going to have to figure out,” Moore continued. “There’s going to have to be some level or degree of concentration in your blood,” and, he said, “it’s not set yet.”

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