San Diego cops unveiled their new marijuana test machine over the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, which they plan to use to target legal weed users, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
“It’s a huge concern of ours with the legalization of marijuana that we’re going to see an increase in impaired drugged driving,” San Diego Police Chief Shelly Zimmerman said during a press conference after voters in California passed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act into law in November, which legalizes cultivation and use of marijuana for recreational purposes.
San Diego officials are using charged rhetoric indicating they plan to target intoxicated drivers, whether the drugs they’re under are legal or not.
“We want to get these impaired drivers off the streets,” Chief Zimmerman told reporters during a press conference.
“Impairment is impairment,” added Deputy City Attorney Taylor Garrot, who works solely on drugged driving cases as part of a state grant program.
“If your system can’t handle that level, then you shouldn’t be driving.”
There’s just one problem.
The Dräger 5000 doesn’t read the level of intoxication.
Once the machine detects any level of THC, opiates, cocaine, methadone, amphetamine, methamphetamine, or benzodiazapines that gives it a positive reading, it would likely prompt police to seek a blood test to garner a more specific reading.
And that could land you in jail while you await the results.
In California, there is no set limit under state law for an amount of drugs a person would be required to have in their system to be considered legally intoxicated, so the cops, as well as prosecutors, rely on subjective measures to judge a person’s impairment with the machine, which reads a mouth swab then issues a receipt with positive or negative reading.
A positive reading would likely result in the cop sending the driver to a police phlebotomist for more specific drug level tests.
Law enforcement officers trained to look for symptoms[dpp]