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Police train to better recognize drivers intoxicated on marijuana

The legalization of marijuana use Massachusetts has prompted law enforcement to train to better recognize drivers under the influence. The two-day training is called Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) and is the first step towards certification in drug recognition. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with additional input from the Association of Chiefs of Police and others in law enforcement developed it.

It is intended to bridge the gap between Standardized Field Sobriety Testing and Drug Evaluation and Classification program. With marijuana staying in the body and detectable from testing long after the intoxicating effects wear off, these roadside tests will likely be an important part of any case against a driver.

Typical signs officers look for

The officers will likely look for the following signs during a roadside stop. Whether smoking, vaping or ingesting edibles, the common telltale signs are:

  • Red eyes
  • Eyelids quivering when closed
  • Inability to focus on more than one thing at a time

If the officer detects one or more of these signs, they will likely bring the driver in for more testing at the station.

Officer judgment is still the weak link

Training of law enforcement is always welcome and crucial to their ability to perform their duties. However, this testing once again relies upon the judgment of the officer during a roadside stop. These brief stops and quick analysis of someone they do not know is still a snap judgment, particularly because those pulled over will often be nervous.

According to a local news report, part of the training involves watching a scene from a Cheech & Chong movie, which seems absurd considering the gravity of circumstances this training is designed to address. With this in mind, drivers continue to serve their own best interests by consulting with attorneys who have experience handling marijuana-related OUI.

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