Marijuana DUIs Are Still Too Subjective Say Cops

buy canada goose jacket cheap This spring, 16 state patrol officers from Colorado and Wyoming took a couple days off their usual work schedule to do something special. They assembled in a hotel conference room in Denver. As instructed, they wore street clothes for their first assignment: going shopping at nearby marijuana dispensaries. buy canada goose jacket cheap

Canada Goose online “It’s a brave new cheap canada goose world,” said instructor Chris Halsor, referring to the years since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana. Canada Goose online

There are now cheap Canada Goose more marijuana dispensaries in Colorado canada goose store than there are Starbucks shops, said Halsor, a Denver lawyer and former prosecutor. And though consuming cannabis is legal across the state, driving under its influence is not.

buy canada goose jacket The cops in that conference room, with their buzz cuts and canada goose coats on sale Mountain Dew, are all part of the force charged with keeping the roads safe. But first, they needed a formal pot education to learn how to identify various marijuana products and paraphernalia when they pull over a driver they suspect is under the influence. buy canada goose jacket

canada goose uk black friday Here’s the rub: Despite the increasingly legal use of cannabis in many states, cops still don’t have the equivalent of a reliable alcohol breathalyzer or blood test a chemically based way of estimating what the drug is doing in the brain. Though a blood test exists that can detect some of marijuana’s components, there is no widely accepted, standardized amount in the breath or blood that gives police or courts or anyone else a good sense of who is impaired. canada goose uk black friday

“We like to know the human error and the limitations of the human opinion,” said Tara Lovestead, a chemical engineer at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colo., who is working on setting standards for what a marijuana detection test might require.

Canada Goose Online It’s actually really hard for Lovestead to do canada goose clearance sale this kind of research because she works in a federal lab; federally, cannabis is considered a Schedule 1 Canada Goose sale substance, “a drug with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” So even though Lovestead is in Colorado, getting hold of a canadian goose jacket sample for research purposes is just as Canada Goose Outlet hard as getting hold of heroin. Canada Goose Online

canadian goose jacket “We cannot use the stuff down the street,” she said. canadian goose jacket

Aside from being a bureaucratic mess, coming up with a standardized blood or breath test is also a really tricky chemistry problem because canada goose coats of the properties of the main psychoactive chemical in cannabis: delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.

canada goose black friday sale In states like Colorado, there is a THC blood test that law enforcement can use to show “presumed” impairment. If a person has more than 5 nanograms of delta 9 THC per milliliter of blood, a court or canada goose deals jury can infer that they are impaired, according to Colorado law (this is called “permissible inference” in legalese). canada goose black friday sale

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canada goose factory sale But Lovestead and buy canada goose jacket others maintain that, scientifically speaking, that cutoff doesn’t actually mean anything. canada goose factory sale

“We just don’t know whether or not that means they’re still intoxicated, or impaired or not,” she said. “There’s no quantitative measure that could stand up in a court Canada Goose Jackets of law.”

Turns out it can be a lot harder to chemically determine from a blood or breath test that someone is high than to determine from such a test that canada goose they’re drunk.

canada goose uk outlet Ethanol, the chemical in alcoholic drinks that dulls thinking and reflexes is small and dissolves in water. Because humans are mostly water, it gets distributed fairly quickly and easily throughout the body and is usually cleared within a matter of hours. But THC, the main chemical in cannabis that produces some of the same symptoms, dissolves in fat. That means the length of time it lingers in the body can differ from person to person even more than Canada Goose online alcohol influenced by things like gender, amount of body fat, frequency of use, and the method and type of cannabis product consumed. canada goose uk outlet

cheap canada goose uk In one buy canada goose jacket cheap study, researchers had 30 frequent marijuana users stay at a research facility for a month without any access to drugs of any sort and repeatedly for evidence of cannabis. cheap canada goose uk

Canada Goose Jackets “And it shocked everyone, including ourselves, that we could measure, canada goose clearance in some of these individuals, THC in the blood for 30 days,” says Marilyn Huestis, a toxicologist with the University of Maryland School of Medicine who recently retired from leading a lab at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Canada Goose Jackets

canada goose coats on sale The participants’ bodies had built up stores of THC that were continuing to slowly leech out, even though they canada goose black friday sale had abstained from using marijuana for a full month. In some of those who regularly smoked large amounts of pot, researchers could measure blood THC above the 5 nanogram level for several days after they had stopped smoking. canada goose coats on sale

Conversely, another study showed that people who weren’t regular consumers could smoke a joint right in front of researchers and yet show no evidence of cannabis in their blood.

Canada Goose Coats On Sale So, in addition to being invasive and cumbersome, the blood test can be misleading and a poor indicator of whatever is happening in the brain. Canada Goose Coats On Sale

canada goose coats Recently, some scientists have turned their attention Canada Goose Parka to breath, in hopes of creating something useful. canada goose coats

canada goose clearance sale A number of companies, like Cannabix Technologies and Hound Labs, are in the process of developing breath detection devices. Tara Lovestead is providing the data that will help relate the concentration of THC detected in the breath to what’s in the blood. Even though blood provides an incomplete and indirect inkling of what’s happening in the brain, it’s the measure law enforcement turns to as a benchmark. canada goose clearance sale

canada goose store That, too, is a chemist’s nightmare. THC and other cannabinoids the chemicals that cause a high are really squirrelly. They degrade quickly and appear only in very tiny amounts in the breath. canada goose store

Luckily, Lovestead’s specialty is detecting tiny amounts of chemicals in the air. She and her colleagues have worked on methods to use tiny air samples to detect evidence of arson, buried bodies and hidden explosives. Marijuana is the next challenge.

canada goose In the future, she said, an accurate breath test would likely involve looking at a lot more than just THC probably a whole combination of chemicals. canada goose

“One thing to look for would be metabolites something that comes out of the breath that shows it actually went through your system,” she said. Such a test would greatly reduce the possibility that someone might test positive from inhaling secondhand smoke, she said.

Canada Goose Outlet In the meantime, it’s up to law enforcement officers like the ones in Chris Halsor’s class to make the call, based on circumstantial evidence and their best guess Canada Goose Outlet.

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