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Study considers breath test for marijuana-related DUIs

Although Colorado lawmakers have legalized the use of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes under certain circumstances, adults may not use marijuana and then drive legally if a certain amount of the drug remains in their systems. The rationale behind this legal caveat is that marijuana can affect drivers’ ability to operate their vehicles safely if they have so much of the drug in their system that it risks impairing them.

As a result, it is important for Colorado residents to understand that they may be brought up on charges of driving under the influence (DUI) also known as driving while impaired or intoxicated (DWI) for operating their vehicles with a certain amount of marijuana in their systems.

A study was recently published in the medical journal Clinical Chemistry that suggests that law enforcement could potentially use marijuana-specific breath tests in order to determine whether someone should be arrested on charges of marijuana-related DUI. The breath test would measure the amount of THC in a motorist’s body as an alternative to a blood test.

Breath tests are less invasive than blood tests, but they are also often less reliable. It is important that before Colorado lawmakers embrace the idea of breath tests for marijuana-related DUI suspects that they consider whether or not such testing is reliable. When unreliable testing devices are placed in the field, innocent people tend to suffer unacceptable consequences. As a result, when such testing becomes available leaders in Colorado should not rush to use it unless it is as accurate as possible.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Alternative To Controversial Blood Test For Pot DUIs," Matt Ferner, Oct. 22, 2013

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